Bathroom? What bathroom?!

We’ve been busting @$$ on our bathroom now for 3 months and I’ve been so busy with bathroom-ing, working and hosting out-of-towners (7 out of the previous 10 weeks – and people wonder why we have a dedicated guest room??) that I honestly have completely forgotten to update you on some of the other things we’ve been working on.  See, when I got frustrated or overwhelmed with the bathroom (which still isn’t completely finished – yet), I’d focus on other things like, say, the dining room, the Room of Requirement or our Living Room.  In most cases, they weren’t massive changes, but I thought now would be a good time to update the Nickel Tour page with more up-to-date pics.  Since I actually don’t have paint, caulk, grout or thinset stuck in my hair now is a good time to actually clean up the house a bit and take some pics!

Living Room

One of our big changes in this room actually happened last fall and was F-R-E-E.  But we’ve made one other major change in here which really brought it all together.  Basically we a) changed around the furniture layout (FREE) and b) bought a rug from Pottery Barn for a super duper clearance!  I bought the rug back in March sometime and told you all about it here, but then that pesky bathroom kept getting in the way of my reporting and blogging!  It has a nice big pattern and is loop pile (almost feels like berber), which means stains, footprints, etc all kind of vanish – meaning, when you spill red wine….which never happens around here….it’s not such a big deal to clean it up!  Not that I’m inviting your lush-ass to my house to spill red wine.  Don’t get your hopes up.  We don’t live in THAT kind of house.  Actually, I don’t let red wine drinkers in the family room.  White wine?  Hit it up!  Beer!  Belly up!  Red wine and spaghetti sauce?  Get your ass in the dining room where you belong.

Our new rug!

We’re still playing around with furniture layout in this room.  But this is what we’ve settled on for now.

The room is such an odd shape and then I have this ridiculously long wall here that just confuses me with what to do with it.  I’ve never been happy with this wall of mirrors – it was just a cheap solution until we could afford something grander/larger:

Oh, how I can't stand super long walls!! The possibilities are endless!

I’ve thought about doing something similar to our upstairs landing like so…

Check out the photo collage on the right

….but I can’t really decide.  Oh, and then there’s that pesky bathroom that keeps getting in the way (link to pesky bathroom).  Sooner or later I’ll get around to switching it up.  Or I might not….that’s how we roll around here people.  But back to the family room – do you notice how light and pretty the family room is?  And then the kitchen in the background just kind of sucks the life out of the rest of the room?

Urg….how I would love to have a white kitchen.  No, really….a white kitchen!  Cream…don’t care…anything but what we have…

The Front Door

Ok, don’t get me started on our front door.  Before we moved in, the previous owners kicked in the door, so the outside (and inside) is just in crap shape.  Add to it the fact that we still haven’t changed out the brassy sherriff’s locks and our whole door is really ready for a makeover, which we’d love to tackle sometime this summer if we have time.  But in order for us to do that, we need to take the door down, sand it down, do some repair work and then put it back up.  But as lovely as it sounds to have no front door for a few days while we’re working on the door, we thought a better alternative would be to get a storm door and call it a day:

I took this picture forEVER ago - look at how cloudy it is...

…of course it also serves a functional purpose once the door is refinished and pretty, which is to say that it will protect the door from water damage and warping down the line.  Oh, and it gives Maggie something fun to look out of :-).  It’s like her personal TV set.

Room of Requirement

You’ve seen the pics from awhile ago, but we still didn’t have an end table, we hadn’t hung artwork and we still had our old ginormous TV.  So here are the FINAL pics to our makeover.

…and I must say, I LOVE this room!  It’s so much fun to hang out in.  We play the husband plays a lot of video games up here (especially lately since Portal 2 came out – yum!).  And even though we don’t have Cable up here, we do have access to our XBox live account, which is attached to our TV downstairs, so if we want to watch recorded cable shows, we can easily do that up here.  We’ve even had a few four person sessions of Rock Band and I’m so glad we got the two green ottoman stools because we can just move those around the room for the drummer and the singer.  It’s awesome!  And although we haven’t yet needed to use it as a sleeper, we likely will at some point in time, so it’s so great that we have an extra sleeping space when we need it, a reading room AND a fun media room.

So there ya have it!  A couple of updates on some rooms (and not rooms).  These are the projects we’ve been tackling behind-the-scenes since the bathroom has essentially taken over our lives!  But it finally feels like the end is near when it comes to the bathroom (oh, it’s still not completely done, m’friends!), but now that it’s completely functional, we feel like the “urgency” aspect has kind of been removed thank goodness!


Thanks, Pottery Barn!

If you read this in a reader and/or from our subscription service, then visit the website because I’ve made some minor modifications to the real post.

So it goes without saying that I have seriously been looking for a family room rug to replace our old one for well over a year now! 

In fact, I wrote a post about it back in September mostly just to whine about how far away all of the Pottery Barn outlets are from Portland, Oregon and how I’d love to be able to buy a rug from there on the cheap.  We already have a few rugs from P Barn and they hold up so well (much better than some of our other rugs), so you could say that I have a love affair with quality rugs that don’t cost an arm, a leg and your firstborn child.

But finding “the one” isn’t easy and it has to be right.  It can’t be too Persian, too antique or too gold or green (which happens ALL the time in nice wool rugs).  It needs to be a modern take on a classic design and it needs to have a pattern – hello?  It’s in a family room where things get spilled – could be red wine, who knows?!  Oh, and it MUST be wool.  Wool is the best, it holds up for centuries, is completely natural and cleans up so easily.  Enter the Bouquet Floral Rug from Pottery Barn and I was totally sold:

I love how it’s patterned without being over the top, plush without being shag and quality without being $3,000.  Believe me, if you look around for rugs enough, you start to realize that size wise (we need an 8×10) you just can’t do much better than $3,000.  So we ordered a swatch a few days back and decided that while we have the money in the bank and the rug we love is about $500, may as well just go with what we love.  The colors work for our subtle greens and blues we have in our family room already and the greens and blues we hope to add later on with more pops of color.  What can I say?  LOOOOOVE!!! 

So I got online on Wednesday night this week and ordered an 8×10 rug because our local P Barns were all out of stock (as was every store in the country), so I got the feeling it would be discontinued soon and I needed to act fast!  I pulled out the credit card and felt a little bit of pain at the final tally, but relieved that I “secured” MY rug before it was discontinued! 

Fast forward to yesterday morning and I wanted to check the website to, ya know, gaze adoringly at this rug again….

…the price was lowered by $100!  GAH!!!  IT’S ON SALE!!!!  FOR ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS LESS THAN WHAT I PAID!!!  Seriously?!?!  Seriously…so I called Pottery Barn as fast as you can say, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”  Turns out that Pottery Barn will honor the price difference within 30 days of the purchase date and will just credit my card back the hundred bucks!  Well, slap me silly!  That sounds like a plan with a capital P to me!  And here’s another tidbit that I learned, so stockpile this away for future reference – Pottery Barn always lists things on sale on Wednesday nights!  So the best time to go shopping on their website is on Thursday morning when the sales are fresh and before the stock gets sold out.  Betcha didn’t know that.  Me neither.  You’re welcome! 

I still don’t have the rug….yet….but it’s coming and should hopefully be here really really soon, so I’ll be sure to share those pics once we get them.  In fact, I think it’s about time I wandered around the house and updated all of our Nickel Tour pics as best as I can.  The dining room is different, the family room needs to be updated once we get our new rug, we’ve also made some small updates to the laundry room (added some crown molding to the top of the cabinets), and our Room of Requirement is starting to get pulled together.  Now that it’s Daylight Savings too, I could probably eke out a few good pics at the end of the workday, too!  Whoo hoo!!!  Don’t hold your breath, though – it takes a LOT of time to produce all of this content.

….and as for the bathroom?  Well, we took a break from all of that last weekend and went skiing instead!  And I don’t know about you,  but I’m never traveling on Daylight Savings Weekend ever again.  I have been so beat all week and I can’t snap out of it!  We’re back in the bathroom this weekend working away.  Hopefully we’ll have some good tid bits for you next week :-).

Oh, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn….wherefore art thou….?

I’m on a mission!  A hunt!  An adventure!  For months now I have been searching for the world’s perfect area rug to replace our monochromatic (*yawn*) one in the family room:

I’ve been eyeing rugs all over the place – HomeGoods, Crate and Barrel, West Elm, Pottery Barn, Macy’s, Overstock, Ikea, various online retailers, lamp stores, grocery stores, hardware stores, you get the picture.  I’m looking for something in the blue-green family that does *not* look golden, which always seems to happen with area rugs.  Why is that?!  Regardless, here is my area rug wish list for the family room:

  • We’re reading you, 8×10 – We eventually plan to replace the carpet in our family room with wood (or something along those lines), so something to cover up as much of that as possible to insulate us from the chill in the wintertime would be ideal.  Oh, and it’s gotta be relatively large so that the dogs have plenty of room to park their buns.
  • Wooly Mammoth – I love wool rugs – it’s plush, it’s warm, it’s soft underfoot and, bonus!  It’s all natural!  Plus, it’s easier to clean, easier to take care of, and it’s extremely durable!  They’re also really soft underfoot and just scream luxury.  Sign me up!
  • Nothing Traditional/Persian – We desperately need some pattern and jazz in this room, but nothing too crazy.  Sometimes you look at a rug and just think, “What is the meaning of that?!”  I’m thinking rugs along the lines of this:

The now deceased Clara rug from Pottery Barn - pretty, but too yellow for us!

….or this…

Pottery Barn Vanessa rug - currently on sale, but too French blue for our room...

….or even, daringly, something kind of like this….

The West Elm Zebra rug - daring, for sure, but a little too monochromatic and hipster for our tastes.

…but none of the above rugs are really truly singin’ to me.  The trouble is that a rug is something that’s going to be with you a loooooong time.  Hell, I’ve walked through castles in Europe (and even the Biltmore here in the US) and they had original rugs dating back centuries….yes, CENTURIES!  Now I don’t plan on spending a century’s worth of *my* hard earned dollars to put down something that essentially is just a big fancy sock for the floor (or legwarmer, whichever floats your boat), but I am willing to save up some hard earned dollars for something fun, pretty, and a little bold that might stand the style test of time for at least a good ten years or so.  Oh, and it has to be durable enough (and dark enough, but not too dark) to hide dog stains, husband stains, and if we ever go down that road, bambino stains (don’t get any ideas, Moms!).

I have to admit that I truly *love* Pottery Barn rugs.  Honestly, walk into any “rug store” anywhere in the country and I’ll bet you couldn’t find an 8×10 wool rug with a natural backer in a decent color that doesn’t look like vomit and a non-Granny pattern for anything less than $1,000.  Believe me, I know – I’ve looked!  Pottery Barn’s 8×10 rugs are seriously a smokin’ deal for anywhere between $500 – $700 a pop.  Granted, that’s a pretty hefty price tag for anything, but for a high-quality rug that’s actually not too bad, especially if it’s natural high-quality construction….but I digress….

So I got it in my head that maybe I could road trip down to a P-Barn Outlet somewhere close to Oregon, possibly California?!?  When I lived in Ohio, I was only an hour’s drive from a Pottery Barn Outlet (Jeffersonville, holla’!) and I used to stop by there every chance I got to see what bits and pieces I could get for smokin’ deals.  I’m pretty sure that the closest one will probably be a day’s drive, but I’d be willing to rack up the miles for a good deal on a rug!  And since P Barn is headquartered in San Fran, you gotta figure that their outlet is somewhere close to there, right?!?

Not so, my friend.  It’s in Lake Elsinore, CA – a cool 18 hour trip from Portland.  Seriously?!?!  Ok, Plan B means *next* closest P-Barn Outlet……San Marcos, TX….just 1 day and 12 hours from my house….

….plan C?  Plead….no, BEG, Pottery Barn to open up an outlet closer to home!  Please?!  Pretty please?!?  With a cherry on top?!?!  C’mon, you guys are BASED in San Fran – can’t you at least give it up for some Bay Area love?  I could easily make a trip down to a P Barn outlet in Sacramento!

Oh, and if you’re curious – there are only ten (that’s right, TEN!) P Barn outlets in the country.  For a company that’s based on the West Coast, you’d think that they could spread the love a little better out here – Pottery Barn Outlet, wherefore art thou????

Pillow Mania

I’m a big wimp when it comes to pillows.  There, I said it!  I am the world’s biggest wuss when it comes to patterns and paisleys.  Well….let’s just leave the paisley out of this conversation.  Paisley is still a little hugover from her mid-90s over-indulgant bender…But our family room could seriously use a dose of pattern and color (a project I’ve been meaning to tackle since before we moved into this house).  Enter Home Goods, two graphic patterned pillows, and just the right injection of blue and green which this room has been craving for quite some time!

Aren’t they just adorable?!  And they’re filled with down and not that synthetic poly fill stuff, so they just feel so cushy and amazing and expensive, even though they were only 20 bucks a pop!  Loves, loves, luuuuuuuuurves them!  Now if only we could do something about that bland Pottery Barn rug….hrmmm…..more on that later…

Eat your heart out, Pottery Barn!

Do you remember that episode of Friends where Rachel falls in love with an Apothecary Coffee Table from Pottery Barn and hesitates telling Phoebe that it’s from there because she hates mass produced items?

I’m not sure which is more hilarious – the fact that I saw this for the first time 6 months ago (ok, I was totally lame in college and didn’t watch it in its first run!) or the fact that I had to laugh my @$$ off because I actually….own….that….apothecary table.  And the end tables too, but who’s counting?

Note to self....update family room photos....

But this isn’t a story about Phoebe or Rachel or even the tables themselves.  This is *actually* a story about the piece of furniture that we built to “match” those tables.  Yes!  BUILT!  With our own hands!  With no plans and just an idea in our heads.  And if I’m not mistaken, I believe this was before our air compressor days so….like…wow!  And we built it because we had the world’s ugliest TV stand….which I apparently can’t find a picture of, but trust me.  It was God-awful!  It looked like a Tetris piece and was that pretty typical 90’s assemble-yourself veneer ugly and it just didn’t go with the new tables!  We considered buying the TV stand that went with our set but it was too much money and it was too damn small for all of our “paraphenalia”.  Video games and a serious movie addiction = too much junk in da trunk!  So way back before we even started der blog-in-stein (we’re talking before we even got married or even thought about buying a house!), Dr. J and I decided to get crafty and *design* (from scratch!) a TV stand that would not only look better than what we had, but house a serious amount of junk!

We have a plan.....we can rebuild him...

Purty, huh?  And PURTY ambitious, especially at the time!!  The “hutch” part is for a later date – possibly documented on this blog someday!  Knowing me, this design was probably designed on the back of a cocktail napkin.  That would be my Cosmopolitan verging on Maker’s Mark Manhattan Days.  These days I find myself in Mojito mode and slowly transitioning over to Dirty Gin Martinis (So sorry, but is that too much information?).

And at this point I just need to brag because while I was mostly responsible for the design, my hubs, Dr. J, *built*a*piece*of*furniture*with*his*own*two*hands**!!!!!!!!!!! And, admittedly, we kind of look back on this project and guffaw because it was before I cared about getting my hands dirty, before we had serious power tools (i.e. an air compressor), and the whole thing took Dr. J almost a year to complete!  We were planning a wedding and so that basically was our life at that point…

But here was take one of building the above (you can see we were obsessed with documenting our DIY processes even before we had a blog!):

We took a really long hard look at one of the tabletops to a similar piece while we were in Pottery Barn one day (we registered there for our wedding, so we were in there quite a bit) just to see how they clapped the thing together.  We had this bird-brained idea that we could actually create almost a “picnic table”, sand it down, and then stain it to create the same sort of look.  I honestly don’t know what we were thinking since we didn’t have the right tools.  Nowadays, after a short stint actually *working* for Pottery Barn and an even shorter stint examining a damaged piece at a Pottery Barn Outlet, we’ve pretty much figured out that most of their table tops are a high-quality veneer over a hard-wood base (or so they say….).  The above contraption?  FIREWOOD!


You can tell the above photos are old – check out the old school GameCube and XBox!

Then Dr. J figured out that he could just build it by creating the frame (sort of a lattice work), finding a nice piece of table top wood (found at Lowe’s, of course), and then putting it all together….by….hand!  As in, no compressors were used in the construction of this piece just a good ol’ hammer and nail.  Structurally, this piece was incredibly simple.  We didn’t have any carvings and/or complicated curves, etc.  The whole thing was very Shaker in design, so very square and simple (hence the lattice structure).  We didn’t have to miter any edges and everything was put together with “butt joints” (although it’s escaping me right now as to whether we did the biscuit or the screw method).

A few months after the above photos were taken Dr. J finished off the drawers and we had this:

….and nowadays we have this….

….wait a minute…how did a TV stand go from media haven to media workhorse?!?  Let me explain……takes too long….let me sum up….it’s just where it fit, baby.  But not for long… fact, we have a new home for this puppy, which will be revealed next week.  And can I just say…it makes *so* much more sense!  Stay tuned!  Happy Friday!  And Pottery Barn – EAT YER HEART OUT!

PS  Stay tuned early next week!  We’re actually doing a free GIVEAWAY!!!  Spread the word!!!

HomeGoods Homebound

Okay, OKAY!  We’ve been busy, doing a little bit of travel, having house guests, and just generally trying to take it easy now that summer finally made it to the Pacific Northwest!  However, I did want to share a few items that came home with me since I was swooning hardcore for some great finds at Home Goods!  Fortunately for you, I actually did bring a few treasures home and wanted to share them with you!  I even made my very first Etsy purchase (more on that later!).

I couldn’t resist!  She was so pretty and her coloring said, “Take me home!  I promise I won’t shed!”  But seriously, I just had to have this stool to pair right next to my Dolce Lounge chair from Tar-jay.  And she’s so convenient for plopping a drink, a book, or (*sigh*) a remote.  We’ve been needing a little some’n some’n to buddy up with this chair and when I saw this at HomeGoods, I knew she would be ours.  And at $59.99, I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it!  And while I initially considered painting her white, I actually really like the additional texture it brings to this room, so she’s going to stay her shimmery creamy self until I decide that hot pink is the new ‘it’ color (might be tomorrow, ya never know!).  Stay tuned…

So I mentioned Etsy earlier.  Etsy is a website that is basically like a giant online craft fair.  Anybody who makes their own crafts (be it pillows, quilts, glassware, art, etc.) can log on, create a store and sell their wares to the masses.  I’ve been hearing about it for awhile now online and I haven’t really had the opportunity to take advantage of it (that whole house reno-ing thing, ya know).  So I thought I’d give it a try and look at what I found:

They are actually from a store on Etsy called Word Garden. Go give her some love because she creates some truly beautiful pieces!  The small lumbar pillow is made from a natural fabric with French words and sayings and I love the whimsical texture it brings to our space.  It’s really all about having fun and being playful and what could be more playful (or vintage feeling?) than some word art?  I also purchased from her this lovely crowned pillow, which I’ve put on Dr. J’s “Man Chair”.  Every man needs one and this is his….complete with a crown.  He loves me, he does ;-).

And while I was out, I thought I’d get myself some Hydrangeas…because they are in absolute abundance this time of year in the Pacific Northwest and they’re just too pretty to ignore!

So there ya have it!  Just a few little odds and ends that I’ve been picking up here and there and everywhere to keep things feelin’ fresh and inviting while all of this renovating is going on!  But what about you?!  Anything else going on in everybody’s world that makes you feel better about a renovation taking over your life?


With all the talk of warmer weather and summer just around the corner, I noticed the Coffee Table in our family room was starting to look a little dreary and a little dark on dark on wood on wood.  Here is the wintry Coffee Table-scape I started with:

So I “shopped my house” looking for items that would freshen and brighten up this table, bringing in more contrasting tones and colors all while keeping in vogue with my recent aversion to all dark colors.  So in spending no money (only time) in re-imagining my table-scape, this is what I came up with:

It’s a much more reflective and beachy theme than what was there before.  Here are a few close-up shots:

I found these two coffee mugs at Home Goods a few months back and finally found a better use for them than sitting in a corner!  They have our last name monograms on them and were only $3 apiece – score!  It’s perfect for stashing the hubs’ keys and iPhone and wallet and change and money and glasses and….no, of course it doesn’t annoy me when he drops it everywhere….now that we have these cute little mugs to capture it when he comes home from work ;-)!  I also have a white sea biscuit thrown in there to tie in the beachy white vibe and to keep it feeling fresh and unexpected.

On the other side I threw down this gorgeous reflective serving tray that is a little too impractical to use for serving food, but is perfect to inject a little bit more light and modernism to the traditional table.  By the way, it was sitting inside my hutch and collecting dust, so this is a much better use for it.  On top of that, I layered a star fish trivet (that I found at Tuesday Morning for a measly $2) and a simple glass vase filled with wine corks to inject some texture and interest.  At the last minute, I threw in a bowl of raw almonds for some added natural elements (and to encourage healthy snacking habits).  I may throw in some lemons or limes for an added punch of summer-y zing when we run out, but oranges, apples, or even pears would be a fun wintry alternative too!  Just make sure that you eat them quickly so they don’t spoil!

So You Tell’Us.  What do you think?!  Are you planning on switching out some decor in your house now that the weather is getting warmer and brighter?!