Thursday, May 28, 2020

Tour du Falconhead Manor

In my last post I gave you a quick preview of the first level floor plan of our house and kind of the evolution of our family room in the year we have been living here.

While I was typing the post I kept thinking to myself, "Girl you really need to do a video tour" but it is day 9833493 of this COVID-19 quarantine and my house looks like a bomb hit; there are toys, dirty socks and school work in every nook and cranny of this house.  Seriously though, do your kid's socks just explode off their feet like ours do?  I didn't even think either of them own this many socks, and yet I find them in the foyer, in the play room, stuffed between seat cushions.  The worst is when I find an uneven number and I just stare at the room, glaring, knowing that somewhere in this mess is another sock.  I'll find you sock.  It might not be today.  It might not be tomorrow.  But one day, I will find you.

I digress.

I was wishing I could give you a video tour but the internet does not need to see this chaos, when I stumbled upon a video I made the day we made settlement.  Well done 2019 Me.  It's like you use to blog or something.

It's not the best quality, and I am talking kind of low.  One day, when I can punt everyone out of the house again, I'll make an updated video

If you can't watch the video (or don't feel like listening to me babble... I get it..) here is a floor plan of both the first and second level.

As mentioned in my previous post, and video, the original intent of the front room was to be a formal living room with the dining room right off the kitchen.  With a family room and a heated sun room, we didn't feel the need for an additional seating area.  We did, however, want a bigger dining space so we moved the dining room to the front.  Since we have an eat-in kitchen, we didn't need to have the dining room right off the kitchen.

We used the original dining space as a playroom for the kids until we can finish the basement and make that the kid's hang out spot.  When that happens, we would like to completely gut the kitchen and take down the wall between the kitchen and the playroom, expanding to a gigantic kitchen of my dreams, complete with a monstrous island.


The second floor has four bedrooms, and two full bathrooms.  We have lots of plans for the master bedroom including creating a closet area in the front of the room and expanding the master bath into where the walk-in closet is now.  

I am trying to clean up rooms to photograph, but it's a loosing battle right now, especially since it has rained nearly every day of this quarantine.  Hopefully I can get some updates to the rooms soon. 


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Keeping it Cozy in the Family Room

Well, hey.  Welcome back.
Look at me,  two posts in a month.  Slap some butter on me cause I'm on a roll.

Anyway, I figured I would give you guys a quick layout of the new digs, and talk a little about how we are making an old school layout work for us.  

Like I said in my last post, our house is a traditional colonial that was built in 1978.  If you are my age, you probably either grew up in a similar style home, or you had a friend who lived in a similar style house.  

These houses were built to have formal spaces, such as a formal living room and a formal dining room.  I whipped up a little floor plan (via so you can see the flow of our house:
 Our sun porch is heated, so we have three sitting areas, as well as a back porch accessible from the kitchen.   Honestly, we don't need that much seating, especially when the sun porch and the family room open up into each other; when we have big family gatherings, we have found that if we just keep the sliding doors open, everyone can still hang together.

I did want a bigger dining room though.  In our last house we did not have a dining room, so I could never host holidays.  We decided that instead of having a third, large formal living room (that would probably not get used) we would use the front room as a formal dining room.  The room that was originally meant to be a dining room is now the kids play room.
I am love love LOVING this set up because the keeps the kids toys out of the family room.  After years of trying to covertly hide their toys and pretend like the main living area is actually an adult space, I don't have to worry about it anymore.  

Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of blanket forts, Barbies, and LEGOS  and SO MANY NERF DARTS (seriously, they are like the boy version of glitter) that make their way into the family room, but at the end of the night I scoop them up and just dump them in the playroom. 

Out of sight, out of mind.  That's my parenting style, y'all.  

The family room is easily where we spend the most time, so I thought I would give you a little tour of the space and you can see it's evolution in the past year.  

(prepare for some shitty iPhone photos.  Sorry guys, I didn't take good before photos because I did not intend on blogging again.)

Most of the house was pretty neutral when we bought it; it looks like the previous owner had painted most of the room white before listing.  

Except for the family room.  It was like Philadelphia Flyers Orange on three walls.  

I spy with my little eye, a mutt butt.

I guess the white wall was an accent wall?  I dunno...

Anyway, I was thinking about doing the same color as the family room in our first house, but I thought to myself "no, let's go darker, more saturated.  You're pushing 40 girl, use a grown up color".  Also, Valspar had changed the name of the first color and I don't know what it is called now.  

I still wanted a green color, because I find green soothing and peaceful and at the end of the night when I am snuggling with my kids during a movie night or hanging with my girlfriends while chugging wine and gossiping, I want to feel zen AF.

So I had no less than 39875305793793 samples of paint and finally settled on Sherwin Williams Recycled Glass.  A few days after settlement I came over with my paint brush and got started.

You guys.  It was the same.  damn.  color.

Maybe this is my signature; Joanna Gaines has ship lap, I have this light green color.  

Ahhh, our HOVAS.  In the year that our things were in storage, JEGS and I talked about how much we missed our beloved couch. Then, on moving day, as the HOVAS was being set into the family room, that's when this house really began to feel like home.  

The buffet from the old kitchen fit perfectly on side wall and you know we were not leaving our big ass clock behind either.  The two white chairs were something I had snagged off Facebook marketplace to stage the last house to sell, so I just plopped them here for extra seating.  

As much as we loved the HOVAS, it was nearly eight years old and starting to show it's age.  I mean, it was a white couch and we did have two kids and a dog, so it got dirty really easily.

I was getting good at pulling off the slip cover and washing it, but late in September I was getting ready for Hunter's birthday party and I noticed the slipcover had begun to tear so much, and I just had enough. 

I texted JEGs that day and said "we are buying a new couch this weekend."

 Again, I was all about buying grown up furniture.  I was ok with dropping a little bit of  coin because I knew this couch was going to used daily and I wanted something that would stand up to my destructive children our family.   I wanted something darker (I was NOT going white again) but I still wanted a slipcover though because... well, my kids are slobs.  The End.

I started looking for a couch with slip covers and I could not find anything!

....except IKEA.   IKEA was the only place I could find a sofa I liked that came with a slipcover.

I am going to rename this blog from Lizzie In Progress to Lizzie Shops at One Store and Uses One Paint Color.

The HOVAS was moved to the basement (that we will eventually finish into a playroom) and we chose the VIMLE sofa because we could customize it and we are very happy with it.

All four of us can stretch out on this for movie viewing and have room to spare.  In fact, I can lay down on the short end and JEGs can stretch out on the long and and we don't even touch.
(how romantic, right?  This is what nearly ten years of marriage looks like, haha).

Since the couch was so dark, I snagged this shag rug from Overstock to help lighten up the space but still keep it cozy.

JEGs made two custom builds for this room; the first is our coffee table.  We had kept the first table  that I had painted and upholstered in 2014 with the new couch for a couple of months, but it was driving me nuts.  First off, it was too long and too skinny for the new couch.  Also, we were spending a lot of time playing board games and doing puzzles with the kids, I wanted something with a more solid surface (putting together a puzzle on a fabric surface is infuriating) and also more space to to spread out.  I found a table on IKEAs website (I know, I know...) and started talking JEGs into purchasing it.

He took one look at it and said "I can build that".
So I said "Fine.  Have it done by Saturday".

..and so he did.

Also, I wanted to do a gallery wall behind the couch, but I didn't want to have to deal with moving frames, filling holes and whatnot each time I wanted to add or remove a picture.  After debating if we wanted to big and chunky shelves or multiple thin shelves, we finally landed on two long and slender picture ledges.

I have added a couple family photos and so far I love it.  I have a couple more frames to fill, but I love that I can add and delete things as much as I want.

I still have a few things that I want to do in this room; we want more overhead lighting, crown molding, JEGs is talking about building a new TV stand, we might want to build out the fireplace some more and we have been going back and forth about maybe closing up the window that looks out to the sunroom.  

But, for now, we are pretty happy with this room.


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Road to Home

Soooo, in late April 2019 we did a thing....

We settled on our "forever house" that we have fondly dubbed ' Falconhead Manor'.

..I'm not gonna let this Falconhead thing die, everrrr.

I talked a little about what made us decide to list our first home here, (along with some before and after photos), and then I just kind of bailed on this blog.  Sorry ya'll, two kids, a career and living in a house that is not yours does not make for a lot of blog fodder.

But in the ten months that we lived with my in-laws, we looked at nearly every single house that came on the market trying to find the right house.

In August 2018 I was having breakfast with ladies from a local mother's group and the woman knew we were house hunting and began telling me about the neighborhood she walks through and how she met an older gentleman who was  thinking about selling his house.  I asked her a couple questions about the location of said neighborhood and I quickly realized she was talking this area that JEGs and I had been low-key stalking for years.

About four years ago JEGs and I went to a pool party at a friends house and we instantly fell in love with the neighborhood; it had large lots, mature trees and it was in the exact school district we were looking, right down to the elementary school I really liked.  A bunch of houses came on the market but got snatched up in days, so we never had a chance to jump on them.

When I realized what neighborhood this woman was talking about at breakfast I shoved my card in her hand and said "if you see this man again, please have him call me. I don't want to sell his house, I want to buy it for myself".

A couple months passed and I didn't hear anything, and one day in October I got a text from the woman saying that here is the owner's phone number, give him a call.  I was SO FREAKING EXCITED.  The housing market had been savage over the summer  because there were a lot of buyers and very little inventory; houses were getting multiple offers and going thousands over listing price.  I was excited to not have to deal with the bidding war because I figured this gentleman and I could keep this as an off market deal.

I call and get sent to a voicemail that says "I'm sorry I can't come to the phone, I am showing a buyer the house.  Please leave a message to schedule a showing".

I'm sorry.  Come again?

I quickly googled the address and the owner had listed the house For Sale By Owner (FSBO) on Zillow.


The owner did call me back, we had a lovely conversation and had scheduled a time to see the house.  Unfortunately, we ended up cancelling because after discussing it with JEGs, we were not comfortable with the price the owner had listed it (it was significantly higher than we wanted to pay) so we walked away.  A couple days later the house was pulled off Zillow and I figured we had missed our chance.

Cue sad music and me walking around dragging my feet.

Fast forward to March 2019 and JEGs mentioned that he saw a house listed in that neighborhood.  I looked at the address and realized it was THE house.

Initially I didn't even want to make an appointment to see the house.  NO, I thought, this guy had the chance to sell it to us straight out and he didn't.  I don't want his stupid house anyway.  Right?   Besides, it was a traditional colonial and we had walked through (what seemed like) a thousand of them and had decided the floor plan wasn't what we were looking for.  The only thing this house had going for it was the location.  You know, next to a horse farm and walking distance to a park.  Sitting on a cul-de-sac in a lovely neighborhood.  But, pffft... who wants all that lovely stuff, right?

For closure's sake, we looked at the house with all intentions of not liking it.

 As soon as we walked through the door, it  felt like home.

We got home and wrote up a full price offer and I included a letter that basically said "hi.  Remember me?  I am the lady who wanted to buy your house six months ago and I still do".  Of course there were multiple offers and for some reason (hopefully guilt, just kidding) the seller picked us.

We settled in April but the house was in a different school district, so we waiting until the end of May to move.  This way I was only trucking The Boy back and forth to school for two weeks.

We have some big plans for this house, including how we are going to make this floor plan work for our family.  I can't wait to share what we have done so far and what we plan to do.

It feels so so so good to be settled and in our forever home.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Selling Falconhead Cottage

On June 28, 2018 JEGs and I sat in a conference room in Conshohoken and handed over the keys of Falconhead Cottage to the new owners.  They were a young, newly engaged couple excited to buy their first house.  The settlement was filled with questions about utilities, neighbors, laughter, beer and surprisingly no tears (I was damn proud of myself for not crying).

How did we get to this point?  Well, we always knew this was a starter home, and after our daughter was born it was clear that our time (and the space) was running short.  In October 2017 we has started softly looking at bigger homes, testing out who was going to win the right to be named Falconhead Estate, but we were unsure if our house would sell.  In February 2018, someone in our neighborhood Facebook group said their cousin loved this neighborhood and was hoping to purchase in the neighborhood, was anyone selling their house.  JEGs and I thought, what the heck?  Let's have this chick over to see our house.   She made an offer, and months passed while we negotiated back and forth.  In the time we were negotiating the Eagles won the Super Bowl, JEGs' grandmother passed away, it snowed A LOT and I had breast reduction surgery (I'll tell you about that another time).  We couldn't come to an agreement with this woman, but JEGs and I started to think that maybe we could get this house sold.  

So we made the decision to finish up a couple small projects, move anything we didn't need for the next three months into a storage unit and put up a FOR SALE sign in the yard during the second week of May.  Three days and four offers later, we were under contract.  Let the packing begin.

Instagram: LifeThatIsGood
We were very lucky to have the ability to move in with my in-laws while we search for our next home.  All of our things are in a storage unit and we currently live in a house built by my husband's grandfather where my mother-in-law grew up and my husband grew up.  It's a small town in Chester County, Pennsylvania and the neighbor has a rooster that crows all.  day.  long.   This city girl is struggling.  Also, I have never seen a real live chipmunk before I came to Chester County.  They are cute as hell and I want one for a pet.  

Anyway, I thought I would do an official "Before" and "After" post.  Without further ado, I present the most finished version of Falconhead that we were going to do:

Here is a refresher of what we bought:
more bushes than a 70's porno
 We ripped out pretty much every single bush/tree there was and listed it on Craiglists.  I planted three hydrangea bushes and it opened up the porch.

The backyard was pretty much unseen on the blog, which is a shame because it was huge for the area.  We had taken down a tree, filled in all the holes the  previous owner's dog had dug and added a small shed and swing set for the kids.

Living Room

In the summer of 2017 we finally made the choice to replace all the flooring in the main level.  It was originally the cheapest carpet Lowes had to offer and a kitchen full of cracked grout and cracked tiles.  I HATED it.  JEGs installed laminate floors throughout in a honey oak to match the original hardwood that ran upstairs.  He also ripped out the entire landing that was patched together with 2x4's and plywood and expanded it with real hardwood.


One of the most dramatic changes, I think, is the kitchen. We painted the walls in Spring 2012, but when we replaced the floors, we also painted the cabinets, replaced the hardware and my vision of moving that stupid island finally came to fruition.  We added wainscoting to the island to add interest and JEGs installed an electrical outlet on the island.  Not shown:  the amazeballs sliding shelves he built for each side of the cabinets in the island.  LIFE CHANGING YOU GUYS.  I want all my shelves to slide now.

See that sexxxxay fridge?  JEGs bought that off Craigslist for $250 because it didn't work.  He snagged a part off Amazon and had it working in a jiffy.  We sold our previous fridge for $250, so it was basically a wash.  I miss that fridge like woah.


A little bit of paint, new floors and some cabinets and BOOM- transformation.  I wish I could say that it was that easy but this floor was so unlevel, JEGs still can't talk about it with out cussing.


Some of you may remember that when we first moved in, this small room at the top of the steps was used as my walk-in closet.  Then we got the shocking news that we were pregnant, and it quickly became our son's nursery.  When our daughter was born, it got a girly make-over.  


When we first moved into this house, this bedroom was storage.  We added a couch and tried to pretend like it was a man cave/playroom, but if I am being honest, it was just a place to shove our crap.  When the little lady was born, we made it a big boy room.  It was probably one of my favorite rooms.  JEGs bust out the closet, dry walled it and install bi-fold doors.  He made a radiator cover and added quarter round throughout the whole room.  This room got so much light during the day;  sometimes I would just sit on his bed and marvel at how this turned out.


I mean, that blue, right?  LAWDY I hated that color.  One of our last minute pushes to sell the house we decided to to replace the sink top and faucet as well as switch out the medicine cabinet with an IKEA mirror.  We added some shelves over the toilet and done.  


Oh this bedroom. We pulled this shit together in the eleventh hour to list the house.  If you remember, we had hung two rods in the nook area to expand our closet since the original closet was not big enough for use to use functionally.   We had plans of creating an entire all of closets, but it never happened.  So instead we decided to create a medicine closet in the storage space (you can kind of see it peeking out behind the bedroom door, and then JEGs built a custom closet system to house all our hanging clothes and shoes.  My parents gave us a dresser they were keeping in the garage and we slid that into the nook area and paired it with a circular mirror.   JEGs also built a radiator cover and bookshelf for added character and storage. I was a little upset we waited as long as we did to make these upgrades, because it improved the functionality of this room 100%.

This post has served as a "letting go", if you will.  Selling this home and moving was very emotional for me; I still have bouts of feeling home sick.  While we are so very luck that we were able to move in with my in-laws, this is not our home and I miss feeling of being settled at home.  But I am excited to find the next house;  after all the lessons we learned as homeowners in our previous house we have a must-have list a mile long.  Maybe I will even blog about house hunting again ;)

So farewell to you Falconhead Cottage.  You were our home for seven years, two months and twenty one days. I hope the new owners have as many joyous memories as we did.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The State of My Living Room

At one point, this is what my living room looked like: a dorm room full of hand-me-down furniture.

I kept saying I was going to refinish the side table, coffee table, and chair when the weather got warmer.  Well, time passed and I finally decided to get to gettin'.

I decided to start with the side table.   Let me tell you, I had a devil of a time finding a table to fit this area.  Our couch is very deep, the space between the couch and wall is not very wide and I needed storage, so I was looking for something very specific.  I had been scouring Craigslist and thrift stores to no avail.

One day I was paruzzing Target's website (like I do pretty much every day) and I stumbled upon this little gem

Even though it was technically a console table, if I turned it to the side, the length and width were basically exactly what I was looking for.  I showed it to JEGs, and at  first he was all "I can build that" and I said "...ok, but WILL you build it" and he bascially said "eeehhh... let's order it".

I love it when he lets me do what I want.

I used my Target RedCard and got an extra 5% off and free shipping so I knocked the price down to about $53 and some change shipped.  Boom.

Because of the price, we were hesitant about it, but we were pleasantly surprised that this table is 100% real wood, and it's pretty solid.  Our only beef was it was too tall, and we didn't like how low the shelf was.  JEGs took the saw to the legs and lobbed off a couple of inches to make it a better height for our couch.  Since the shelf was only held up with brackets, we moved it up to a little more

Like I said, this is made of legit wood, you guys!

For about six months we kept it the natural wood.  I liked the lightness of it, but my plans for the chair and the coffee table are to go lighter and I felt like something needed to balance out the darkness of the stairs and fireplace.  Andplusalso, the natural wood seemed to blend into the couch and rug.  I wanted it to pop some more.

The coffee table and chair were the same color, and  even though I didn't plan for them to stay that color, I did really like the tone of the stain.  I stopped at Lowes and snagged  a small can of Minwax stain.  I don't know what makes it sooooooo  much better than the other walnuts out there, but it's schuper schpecial.

After pouring myself the necessary glass of Cabernet, I got down to it.  Normally I would recommend doing this outside, but I am impatient and decided to stain in the kitchen on a Friday night.  Since we had been using it for about six months as is, I gave it a good sanding to scrub off all the gunk it had acquired.  I opened all the windows for ventilation and put the table on a piece of cardboard.

 The directions mention it can be left on between 5-15 minutes before wiping, but I opted for the lesser time to control the color.

It only took about two coats (three coats in some spots) but I am really happy with the outcome.

 The shelf is perfect for holding our "snuggle blanket" along with a pile of my magazines (that one day I will hopefully get to read).  We also have a little box that corrals all of our coasters and remotes.

Underneath we have enough space to tuck in three IKEA SAMLA containers of Hunter's cars, LEGOs and other various toys.

One down... two more to go...

Always & Forever,