House Update – Windows!

We have windows! Well some of them at least!  The slider doors that lead out to the decks on the lake side of the house just arrived today, but they don’t have enough guys to handle how big they are – not to mention everything is covered in freezing rain…again…  The Mr. is my eternal optimist and just refers to the wintery mix as liquid sunshine :)

Building a lake house

We are also still missing the circle windows up in the peaks, and the grey door on the lower level is just temporary until they put the double doors with windows that lead to our storage area.

Lake House building plans

We are on snow day 3 (in the last 5 days), and it’s beginning to feel like a little Hunger Games up in here. My kids are ready to go to battle over the littlest thing – today it was an armless Barbie?!? For the record, little man wanted it for a pirate ship hostage and my daughter wanted to “surgically” reattach her arms.  So, naturally you can see the appeal.

building a lake house

Back to the house, we also got the roof on just in time to keep some of the freezing rain (I mean liquid sunshine) out. Which means lots of boring things like plumbing and heating/cooling are going on this week.

Let’s go on a little tour – here’s the living room, which is definitely going to be my favorite space in the house! I’m hoping to share more details and plans about this room this week (depending on the snow day situation).

Lake House Plans

This is looking into the living room from the dining area. You can see the fireplace framed out in the middle and our master bedroom is on the other side of that wall.

lake house plans

Ok this is looking from the back of the living room into the front door/entry and the stairs to go downstairs on the right (which are covered up to keep heat in the basement). That big square room in the middle is my kitchen pantry! And that leaves the kitchen to the left of the pantry.

lake house building framing

Here is a better look at the kitchen and where the pantry door will be.  That window in the back will be a window seat with a breakfast nook area that I’m excited about. I was a little nervous about having my kitchen tucked back a little in the house, but it still feels really open and connected to the dining and living room without being the first thing you see when you walk in the front door.

lake house building

Here is another shot of the kitchen – the pipe sticking out of the ground is the kitchen sink. So, if you can kind of picture the counters going in an L shape, you’ll see I can look out at the lake while I do the dishes. There will be an island in the middle and the breakfast nook in the back. I’ll be sharing more kitchen plans soon that will make it easier to imagine.

lake house

This might turn out to be my favorite spot, and oddly, it’s in the mudroom. There will be a bench here to sit down and put your shoes on plus drawers for storage. But as it’s right off the laundry room, I think it might be a perfect sunny coffee spot while I wait for the spin cycle.

Lake house framing stage

Up next they are working on all of the outdoor siding and trim, which I cannot wait to see! Here’s hoping we survive the snow day to see it :)

Lake House Light Fixtures

A semi truck just showed up to deliver the last light I’ve ordered and the box is 7 feet tall…go big or go home I guess? Or just go big in your home! In other words I’ve started making some lighting selections for the house. You may be all “um shouldn’t you at least have all your windows in before you are thinking about lights”? You would think so right?  But I will be meeting with the electrician soon to go over where I want every light, light switch, outlet, every…  little…  thing…

I have officially reached the part of house building that is super overwhelming! In our last home I didn’t know what kind of lights I wanted, but I figured “eh just put a hole here, put a hole there” and it will work out.  Wrong!  For the first 2 years we lived there, our dining room lights hung nowhere near where our table actually was. This time around, I wanted to have the big light fixtures ready and waiting so that I get every one in the exact right spot. Want to see what I’m going with?

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links.

First up I ordered 3 of these Carmen 6 Light Foyer Pendants from Wayfair. One for the entry way and 2 will be going over the island in the kitchen.  I like them because the lanterns don’t take up a lot of visual space. I’m always worried about blocking the view of the lake in our home and with these being dark and mostly open I think it will be an interesting detail without taking away from the view.

Lake house lighting ideas

I also got this matching Carmen 6 Light Geometric Pendant for above our dining table. It was a struggle with such an open concept house to have all the light fixtures go together but not be too matchy matchy either. I like that this one coordinates, but isn’t exactly the same.


These Globe Electric wall sconces are also from Wayfair and will be in the breakfast nook just off the kitchen. I like that they tilt so I may tilt them back toward the wall.


We have kind of a long hallway area off the upstairs family room and instead of just using cans all the way down the hallway we are going to use this Semi Flush Mount lights from Wayfair. We are also putting these in the mudroom and laundry room.

Lake House Light Fixtures

These cute Three Posts Gardenhire wall sconces are going above our bed in the master for easy overhead reading lights.

Lake House Light Fixtures

I picked these little nautical looking Bouvet Wall Sconces out for my little guys bathroom, to go on either side of the mirror.

Lake House Light Fixtures

Lastly, the massive one that just arrived for the living room is from Bellacor and it’s the 12 light Black Iron Chandelier. We have a 16 foot tall vaulted ceiling in the living room and it will have a really cool planked wood treatment to look like exposed rafters, so I think this light will be perfect in there.

Lake House Light Fixtures

I still need to pick out lights for our master bath, my daughters bath and the kid’s bedrooms, but I’m off to a good start! As you can see they are basically all black lights in the main living spaces. Which I think will help with the flow of the house. Most of the main floor will have white vertical paneled walls like our entry way at the last house, and we are going with a light warm wood floor (I’ll be sharing flooring picks soon!) I think the white walls, warm floor, and black lights will create a really nice neutral background for fun pops of color (mostly blues) in my decor and of course draw your eye to the best part of the house – the lake view!

I made a little collage below so you can get what I’m saying, I’ll be back later in the week to share some more house progress shots!




Top 5 Posts of 2016

I know I promised you a post on my lighting choices today, but I’m still waiting on one more light that’s supposed to arrive tomorrow.  I want to check it out in person before giving you the full scoop on them. Instead, I thought I would take a quick cruise down memory lane and recap my top posts of 2016 like I normally do every year. There weren’t as many completed projects this year as we have been planning/working on the new house since August, but I still snuck a few good ones in there. It seems crazy to think we are 6 months into this house process already!

All right let’s get to it –

5. House Plans – I think this post was popular, because you all were curious what the heck we were up to over here ;) The house is coming right along and I can’t wait to share all the details. I’m hoping to even get a little video tour in soon, if I can figure out all the techy stuff (cross your fingers for me!)

Lake House Exterior

4. Playroom Take 47 – The playroom in our last home was definitely the room I rearranged the most. I just could not get it right, although this version was definitely my favorite. I gotta say the playroom/family room in the basement at the new house has me currently stumped as well, it will have a little wet bar area with a mini fridge and snack area, and I can’t quite figure out the furniture configuration in there. I’m hoping to post some pics soon and let you guys hit me with your brilliant ideas!

Colorful Playroom

3. Stairway Makeover – I loved how swapping out the old carpeted stairs for this striped runner made my ho hum entry way really pop. Spoiler alert I’m hoping to go for a similar look in the new house.

Staircase makeover

2.  Lake House Spring Decor – I’m so ready for some spring right now amidst the 10 degree snowy weather and my spring tour last year was a definitely a fave.

Lake House Spring Decor

1. Winter Mantel – Oh this post makes me miss our old house! I loved this simple sign after all the Christmas crazy and candlelight makes everything look better. I know you all are going to ask where to get this sign – it’s from an Etsy shop that’s no longer in business so I can’t help you out :(


I can’t wait to see what happens in 2017, there are going to be SO many projects and posts coming at you, it’s going to be a fun year on the blog.  Thanks so much to all of you who have been following me from the beginning as well as anybody new hanging around. I love sharing all my crazy here with you and 2017 will be more of the same :)

Looking like a house

Hey!  I took a little 2 week unplug with my family and hope you enjoyed the holidays as much as I did.  We laid around eating Christmas cookies, listening to Harry Potter on audible and playing board games – it was glorious!  I also invented the best tasting salad ever (mainly because I was feeling guilty about eating  cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner) – basically you mix spinach, strawberries, feta, red onion and pomegranate dressing – then top the whole thing with a crumbled leftover pecan pie and enjoy. I mean, pecan pie is technically healthy when it’s in a salad, so you are welcome ;)

Going back to reality this morning with my usual 6:45 am wakeup call was a bit brutal, but I’m ready to tackle the new year – albeit in my jammies. While I took 2 weeks off, the crew at the house definitely didn’t, they made so much progress the last 2 weeks and it’s finally looking like a house.

Here’s the street side.

lake house framing stage

framing a lake house

And the lake side.

lake-house-plansHere’s an inside shot before they covered up the windows openings with Tyvek.

Lake House living room framing

We are getting there right? They are putting the windows in this week, so that will be an exciting update too. I’m meeting with the electrician soon to go over all the lighting, which means I have been shopping away. I’ll be sharing some of my picks later this week, but I at least wanted to say hi and let you know I’m still alive over here despite my recent radio silence.

Oh, I’m also working on plumbing selections.  Had to test a few tubs today – I feel like I needed a glass of wine and some bubbles to really make my decision though…


While I’m getting my act together over here, you guys should check out my friend Marta’s new travel blog. We had a girls day out in Grand Rapids a few weeks ago and she wrote all about it on her blog. We had the best time eating, shopping and eating some more.  West Michigan is full of awesome spots and I love exploring new restaurants and shops, especially when I get to chat blogging with a friend as sweet and funny as Marta. I’m still totally dreaming about this tomato soup!


If you are local to West Michigan and looking for some fun spots to check out or love travel in general, she has all sorts of great kid friendly travel ideas and some amazing shots from her trips to Banff, Boston, and Northern Michigan. Check her posts out at

Ok, I think we are all caught up, look for more house shopping updates later this week!

House Update – we have walls!

I haven’t shown you any house progress photos since we knocked the old one down, so I thought I would bring you up to date today. We have walls! Well most of them. Old man winter has really not been cooperating with us, and while I am very excited about having a white Christmas, the two feet of snow we have gotten over the last week hasn’t been helping out the construction process.

house framing

Thankfully last week they finished framing the entire basement and then got it closed in before the snow hit, but it now looks like a big windowless box. I texted this pic to the Mr. and work and said “change of plans, going with more of bat cave look” he was actually on board if he got a bat mobile…and if Alfred is going to clean my house, I might be down with it too.

I did snap a few pics before it got closed in and the snow hit – here is the view from the downstairs family room/play room.

lake house framing

You’ll notice the floor is still gravel in the basement,(and my daughter is trying to build a sand castle with it…) it got too cold and they couldn’t get the floor poured, another reason they needed to keep the snow out. When they get the house all closed in they will pour the floors down here, we are putting heated flooring in the basement, so it’s a bit tricky.

lake house framing

Here’s a shot of the view from the upstairs living room, if you notice the window on the left side there will be 8 windows running along that back wall the same size as that. Then another 4 windows on top of them because the ceilings will be 16 ft in this room. So, you can see the few of you who were missing the sunroom from the old house, this room is basically a wall of glass and should feel like the old sunroom.


You will be able to access the deck from the both the living room as well as the dining room thru these sets of doors.


Here are the doors off the master that will lead to the deck.


This is what we’ve got from the street side – the front door is in the center there. They don’t have the garage framed yet, but we are getting there. So far I’m loving the floor plan.  That was the number one thing I wanted to get right in this house, because there were a lot of things about our old house that didn’t work for us. I walked thru it for about an hour yesterday, and I think it’s pretty perfect. However, I may have made my kitchen pantry a smidge too big. I can actually lay on the floor in there and make snow angels, and yes you know I did this.  I was making sure it felt like a good spot to hide from my kids with a glass of wine and box of girl scout cookies as is my custom around 6:00 when the children are driving me batty.  It’s so big I’m thinking I can hide a sleeping bag and pillow in there if I really need to bunk down.

Hopefully by next week I can share the fully framed house with the roof on and everything, our trusses are sitting across the street patiently waiting. However we are currently under yet another winter weather advisory and the windchill is a balmy -3 today.  I feel so bad for the guys working outside in this weather!

If you are new here and haven’t seen our new house plans you can check them out here.

Red and White Christmas Mantel

I’ve had a few comments/emails about whether I’m doing a Holiday Tour this year and I’m sad to say I’m sitting this one out.  We have sort of taken over my parent’s house enough with the lego/barbie/dirty laundry/goldfish crumb whirlwind that seems to constantly surround us so I didn’t think I should push my luck by adding my 32 boxes of Christmas hoopla to the mix.  I did, however, manage to decorate a bit at my mom’s house using some fresh greens and a bit of her Christmas decor.
Classic Red and White Cottage Christmas Mantel

Today, I’m sharing her fireplace mantel, you may notice this sign seems similar from my mantel last year. This is actually a 2nd sign that I used for the Better Homes and Gardens photoshoot we had at our house last year. The Christmas Ideas issue is on stands now, if you can still get your hands on one, I’m still pinching myself over the whole thing :)

I have had so many emails about where to buy one, and unfortunately, the etsy shop that made it for me is no longer making signs, BUT Haley does have a great blog, The Mountain View Cottage where she is sharing these great quilt block printables you can find here. She also said she is working on making a red version for Christmas, so be sure to check that out.

Classic Red and White Cottage Christmas Mantel

My mom had these poinsettias and cute deer candle holders in the basement and I grabbed a $6 garland from good ole Trader Joe’s.

Deer candle holders

Side note – I really wish that I would have been able to show you how pretty the fireplace looks when it’s on, but my dad was reasonably sure I would burn the house down if he tried to talk me through the process of lighting it. I’m guessing burning the house down is a house guest ettiquette no-no, so just use your imagination!

Red white christmas mantel

Now that I’ve decked the halls a bit, I need to get my Grinch booty in gear and actually start Christmas shopping.  I think I hear Amazon Prime calling my name…

Scandinavian Christmas Decor Mantel

Exterior House Colors – 50 Shades of Grey Siding

I’ve gotten a few questions about what style/feel I’m going for with the new house, and I’m hoping to start sharing some inspiration posts so you can see the direction I’m going.  Just as soon as I nail down the direction I’m going :) I actually have it mostly figured out…I think!

Today let’s talk about siding. The exterior for me is one of the scariest things to make a decision on because it’s not an easy or cheap fix if I don’t like it down the road. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram (Instagram stories is an especially great place to keep up on house progress!), you may have taken part in my siding color poll. If not, I’ll show you here the 3 choices we were trying to decide between. This is vinyl shake siding like we used on our last home.

Grey siding

The overwhelming winner of the poll, almost a unanimous decision on instagram was the darkest grey. Facebook was a bit more varied, but the dark grey still won by a large margin. Not that this is a choose your own adventure story book (anyone else love those as a kid?!) where I let my readers pick everything out in my house, ha!  I was totally sold on the dark grey before the poll, but all your love for the dark grey helped me convince the Mr. –  thanks for having excellent taste guys!

A few of you were scared by the dark grey and thought it was going to feel super dark and not cottagey. Some of you really wanted me to go the all white route, and I get it as I love white houses too! However, when you are building a lake home, you tend to think about how the house looks from the lake. The white we had at our last house was pretty up close, but from out in the lake, you couldn’t see the cool trim work on our house. I’m really excited about the high contrast look, plus there isn’t another house on the lake this deep charcoal color.

Let me share a few of my fave inspiration pics.

Dark grey siding white trim

via Muskoka Living on Instagram

Dark siding white trim

via Muskoka Living

I love the high contrast of the really dark siding and all the white trim, if you remember our house plans I’ll refresh your memory below, but you can see more here.

Lake House Exterior

You’ll notice all the white trim and window panes along with the white railing and pillars of the decking.  Plus the white pergola and doors on the back are really going to pop against the dark siding and keep it from feeling too dark. Also the roofing color won’t be black/grey like the renderings show. I would love to have a cedar roof like the inspiration pics show, but it’s incredibly expensive and not very practical. I have found a good solution, which I’ll be sharing soon, but I need to hammer down a few more details first!

So there you go, first thoughts on the house! We are definitely going for a cottagey/lake house feel again with this house, but it will be more casual that our last house. I hesitate to say more rustic because I’m not sure that’s the right word. Maybe think more natural? Think warmer natural wood tones, slate, lots of white wood work, and pops of blue.

5 Easy Inexpensive Christmas Tips

Guys, I’m feeling a little left behind this year in the whole blogger Christmas extravaganza! Typically I’ve had my Christmas decor up since Halloween and I’ve already been hitting you with fun Christmas ideas nice and early so you have a chance to maybe use some inspiration in your own decorating. Living in my parent’s house while we build means all my fun Christmas stuff is stuck in a storage unit summer, so I’m taking the year off from any major holiday decorating. However, I’ve been blogging 4 years now and I have a whole backlog of Christmas fun, so I thought I would throw together a list of my easiest (and least expensive) tips for decorating.

1. Gift Tag Ornaments – Cute gift tags are everywhere and why use them just on packages? I used these “Merry Christmas” Target gift tags on my tree last year.

Gift Tag Christmas Ornaments

And these chalkboard gift tags from Hobby Lobby the year before. They were $2 for a pack of 10 and they packed a big punch on the tree.

Classic Christmas Tree Decor

2. Make your own Gift Wrap – kraft paper is your friend! I’ve used kraft paper almost every year under our tree. I love the old school vibe it has and my kids always have fun decorating it. I’ve had them stamp it, paint it, glitter it, you name it! I’ve even spray painted it using a snowflake ornament as a stencil (check out the how to here)

Gift wrap idea

3. Use Vintage winter gear – I’m trying to count all the ways I’ve used old sporting goods equipment in my Christmas decor, and I’m sure I probably missed a few! From sleds, to ice skates, snow shoes, skis and back again, I think I have covered the Winter Olympics. I’ve found most of these items in old junk shops relatively inexpensive and even a few in my mom’s basement.

Vintage Ski Christmas Tree

Christmas Entry with Vintage Snow shoes


Snowshoe Christmas Mantel Decor

Christmas Front Door Decor

Ice skate Christmas decor

4. Decorations you can eat! One of my favorite (mind numbing and annoying to do, but favorite) decorations was the year I made popcorn garlands for my tree. Beware if you have a dog (or hungry children) most of the popcorn will be missing by Christmas day, but it was fun while it lasted.

Classic Christmas tree ideas

Other fun edible decorations include a hot chocolate bar, pretty Christmas cookies on a cake stand, and I always have candy canes hanging around. They look great hanging on the tree or just tucked into mugs or bowls on open shelving.

5. Christmas cards that double as decor. I love getting Holiday cards from all of our friends and family ever year and making a fun display out of them is a great way to add to your decor. I”ve strung them up on an old window, clipped them to sticks in a vase and just set them on my coffee table in a pretty tray.
Holiday Card Display

So that’s it, it feels pretty weird to be decorating after Thanksgiving like a “normal person”, but I have to admit after having my Christmas decor up last year from Halloween to Valentine’s for various commitments, it’s nice to sit back and enjoy the real reason for the season.

If you are looking for more inspiration check out my Holiday Tours from year’s past.

2013 Holiday Tour

2014 Holiday Tour

2015 Holiday Tour

Coastal Kids Guest Room

I’ve got nothing but concrete and dirt to share over at the new house. While I’m excited they are making progress, it doesn’t exactly make for a pretty blog post. So, I thought I would switch gears back to my parent’s house in Florida. Their master bedroom furniture didn’t show up before my flight left, but I did snap the fun guest rooms.

Kids Coastal Guest Room

Guest room #1 is the designated kid room, so my mom wanted it to be a bit more fun for my kids and my niece and nephew. She picked this brighter teal color and I love the energy this room has.

Coastal Kids Bedroom

We kept the same bedding from my parent’s Florida condo, but we swapped out these brighter pillows.

Kids Coastal Guest Room Decor

My mom found these cute bouys at a vintage market.  I’m sure my angel children will rip them off the wall being the pirates they are, and try to sword fight with them, but they look cute for now :)

Kids Coastal Guest Room Decor

This cute little lobster guy added a bit more fun and that’s it we were done. Easy and cute guest room that my kids are begging to visit! Sounds like our run of warm fall gorgeous weather is about to end in a snowy mix this weekend, so I’ll be itching to visit soon too!

Kids Coastal Guest Room Decor


The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Twin beds – Pamaro Shop (Local Florida store)

Paint Color – Valspar Sea Tickle 5005-7B

Bedding – The Company Store

Pillows – TJ Maxx

Hooks – Target

Demolition Day

Guys, the old house is gone! They worked hard all last week to cut down the dying trees and a few that were too close to where the new house will be and I can’t believe the difference it makes for our view!


I mentioned on my instagram stories (a great place to follow along for daily behind the scenes house progress) that the seller gutted the upper level when she left and took all the windows, not something we were expecting, but nothing about this whole process has gone as expected, so we are rolling with it. We had contacted Habitat for Humanity to come thru to take what they could use, but their schedule was so busy they couldn’t start til mid November. Thankfully one of our neighbors on the lake has a hunting lodge he is working on so he stripped the house of the rest of the windows, the deck, cabinets, basically anything left. I’m so glad someone was able to reuse the salvageable parts of the house.


So, the house has been looking like this for the last few weeks, which in hindsight we totally missed our opportunity to host the spookiest haunted house ever for Halloween.  Although I think the health department would not have been on board with that one…


A few progress shots, could not tear my little guy away from watching the big machines!


And tada- fresh start! Love the new view!


So excited to finally have some progress shots to share with you all. It feels a little surreal considering we made the first offer on this home in June and 6 months later we are actually starting this whole crazy building process.  They were digging the hole for the foundation today so we are moving right along!