Category Archives: Home Decor

Romantic Valentine’s Day Mantel

One of my very favorite things about our new place is the amazing white brick fireplace and mantel. Not that I didn’t love the faux-mantel shelf in our Burbank apartment, but it is beyond thrilling for me to have a few square feet of space I can decorate and redecorate to my heart’s content!

Once we took down the Christmas decorations, I wanted to create a mantel that was of a more romantic sentiment in honor of our anniversary in January, as well as Valentine’s Day this week. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you already got a sneak peek of the final Valentine’s mantel, but here it is in all of its lovey-dovey glory! :)


Walker got me this amazing vintage marquee ampersand for Christmas!


Roses from our garden and a STUNNING vase we received as a wedding gift.


The first wedding photos we (finally!) printed!


The You & Me banner came from our wedding decor!

For our first non-Christmas mantel in the new place, I would say it’s not too shabby! I am going to be a maniac with this thing…! :)

Introducing our Pasadena Cottage!

Happy 2015 all! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season full of family, friends, and love. :)

Yippee! It’s cottage time! As I mentioned in the last post, discovering, visiting, applying, and getting the Pasadena Cottage all happened within 24 hours. I knew great places went quickly in this city, so I had to have faith that when it was meant to be, we would be the lucky recipients of a 24-hour whirlwind. And indeed that happened… we blinked and then suddenly had a new home!

Here is a bit about our lovely new cottage: The cottage is located in the gorgeous Mid Central neighborhood of Pasadena, making it very close (1-1.5 miles) to Old Town Pasadena and walk-able to public transportation to get us there (or anywhere!). As you can see (for those unfamiliar with the Los Angeles area), we simply moved directly east about 15 minutes from where we were before in lower Burbank.



Mid Central Pasadena

It is a charming craftsman rear house that was built in 1922. It’s about 900 square feet (double the size of our Burbank apartment) and has 2 bedrooms, 1 bath (with a tub!), a fireplace, new laundry machines (eeee!), a dishwasher, central air/heat, a driveway with up to 4-5 parking spaces (plus a basketball hoop!), and best of all, a HUGE private fenced yard. We could probably fit about 6 of our old Burbank yard inside of our new one! To top it all off, the grass is brand new (they replaced it in October and is now getting very lush) and is taken care of by automatic sprinklers and a gardener that comes once a week! Woooo! No more dead yard! We are going to be so spoiled!

On top of it all, they had no issue with us putting in a dog door for the furry king of the house, so I used my DIY skills the weekend we moved in to install a SureFlap electronic pet door. It is so cool! We can set it to lock (i.e. pets can come in only) for the few-hour window the gardeners come, and then automatically unlock when they have left. We can program it to do all kinds of cool things that will give us flexibility with Bo when we are at work!

We were also lucky enough to be able to pick our paint colors and have the place painted before we arrived! We chose:


(Existing white trim and cabinets)
Behr Light Mint 480C-1: Kitchen, Bathroom
Behr Amazon Stone 790F-5: Master Bedroom
Behr Sterling 780E-3: Living Room, Hall, Guest Room, Office Nook

One last piece of business before pictures… a floor plan to give everything a bit of context (click on it to enlarge)!


So, the moment you have all been waiting for… here are a few “before” photos I took before the movers arrived with just our freshly-painted walls.

Welcome to the Pasadena Cottage!

Welcome to the Pasadena Cottage!


View of the side yard from the front gate. Our driveway is behind that fence through the back gate.


View of the front yard.


View of the front gate (plus the front house) and sidewalk from the back gate.


Once in the front door, looking left into the living room.


Standing at the front door looking slightly left.


Right side of the living room.


Office nook on the right side of the living room.


Tiny office nook!


Bathroom off of the hall.


Entering the kitchen from the hall.


Opposite side of the kitchen!


The front wall of the kitchen and door to the hall.


At the back of the kitchen is the laundry area and back door.


Guest bedroom from the hall.


Guest bedroom facing hall entrance on left and kitchen entrance on right. Entrance to the master bedroom as well!


Guest bedroom facing entrance from hall.


Guest Bedroom from kitchen entrance facing window.


Master bedroom facing closet.


Master bedroom facing window.

The only downside so far (other than actually having to move) is the longer commute. While we are still trying to master the best route, we went from having a 30-45 minute commute to having about a 45-60 minute commute each way. However, those extra few minutes are worth it for such a fantastic upgrade in our home and yard. Plus, I have been killing the commute by listening to audio books… recommendations needed!

We will have photos of the furnished place in progress shortly, but in the meantime, check out our Pasadena Cottage pinterest board to see the latest ideas for our new place, and follow me on Instagram for some sneak peeks!

Make It Work: Living Room Storage

Thank you all so much for your sweet words and kind wishes last Monday! We have had a fun week of celebrating our engagement and getting the wedding plans off the ground. For a list lover, wedding planning is exhilarating! Anyway, I could go on and on about my strange adoration to lists, but I will save that for another day and, instead, get down to business.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the addition of the full wall of open shelving in the kitchen was a huge game-changer for the apartment. Not only did it roughly triple the amount of storage space and make the cooking process even more enjoyable, but it also caused us to slightly rearrange the kitchen (move the table towards the door) and, therefore, no longer have room for the little makeshift storage shelf that used to hand out along that wall. Forgive the old, ugly picture, but it is the only one I have with the shelf. I actively avoided taking pictures of this wall, because, as you can see, the shelf wasn’t doing the space any favors (though we were in no position to turn down any bit of storage before!).KitchenBeforeThe new arrangement in the kitchen freed up the shelf to be used for other things. Is it the prettiest shelf in the world? No. Does it hold stuff and prevent piles of junk on the floor? Yes. This is Make It Work, people. Sometimes we can’t be picky. So we decided to take advantage of the (free!) small shelf for the nook in the living room next to the heater. This area used to have a chair, but we hardly ever used it (once again, apologies for the old pic).Living Room Progress 4We decided it was better use of the space to replace the chair with the small shelf to hold the overflow of our record and book collections. Since we can always grab the chair from the garage if guests are coming over, ditching the chair wasn’t a big deal to us. In fact, having it gone makes the space feel so much bigger!

LivingRoomStorageIn addition to gaining some much-needed storage space for our media collections, I also managed to find a place for that gorgeous set of iron keys I got in wine country. Following your suggestions, I decided to gather all of my other keys from around the house and cluster them together to form a “key wall” (more like a key area). KeyWallThe newest addition to the key family is one of my favorites. When my Uncle Rick passed away, my dad found this key in his belongings and immediately thought of me. Whenever I look at it, I think of my uncle. It’s a nice little thing to remember him by. UncleRicksKey

Once again, a seemingly simple addition of storage has made our living room so much more organized and functional. We no longer have stacks of rogue records hanging around, and my keys finally have a home! The space is cleaner and more open… mission accomplished. For free. BOOM.