Join me this fall…

when we return to the United States.  My intentions were good but the timing ill-conceived.  When you’re moving into a new home, moving your MIL into your home, hosting multiple family members, and packing for a 6-month jaunt to China, managing a new blog falls pretty low on the totem pole.  I will be back this fall with many more Brown house stories to share; hopefully the bat will evacuate, the refrigerator will work and the erosion-prone yard will miraculously self-restore by the time we return this September.  In the meantime, join me at 29floorsup.wordpress.com to get a peek at our new life in Shanghai and I’ll try not to leave y’all hangin’ this time around.



When a relationship is new (pre DTR talk) it’s all-consuming – you lose interest in your friends, food, school work…you get the picture.  I go to bed thinking about what color we should paint our cabinets and wake up wondering how much it will cost to get window coverings up before we move to China.  It’s heart-attack inducing.  Has anyone ever died renovating their home?  Maybe it is time for the Define The Relationship.  I love her, but I feel like she’s keeping secrets; I didn’t know when we put new gutters up that we’d need leaf guards ($700 bucks).  She also didn’t tell us her previous owners installed interior doors where there should be exterior doors in the laundry room ($200 per door).  I know she can’t help it, she’s dragging all the baggage from her past relationships into ours.  But it’s costing us dearly.

And I’m letting myself down.  I’m letting my readers (I know there are a few of y’all) down.  In between showing the house 7 times this weekend, taking care of two kids, going to church and small group, running all over T-town looking for cheap cabinets, cheap countertop material and cheap doors, my blog fell to the bottom of the list (as if there is really a list).  Have y’all figured out by now I’m not a structured person?  My beautiful binder is somewhere in my car, hanging out between crunched goldfish, various winter-weather weather gear, Happy Meal toys and curdled-milk filled sippy cups.

I’m ready to jump back on the bandwagon.  The Brown House saga has barely begun…

So, I knew she wasn’t perfect. Until you live in your new home, there’s no way to truly understands her quirks.  For example, Bryan informed me there are no vents in the utility room – it will be a beast in the summer and an ice box in the winter.

Also, this:

Um, I’m pretty sure it’s not safe for a 3 year old to tightrope shimmy across this window- ledge precipice of doom.  I thought all my mommy friends would come over for play-dates and enjoy the large, light-infused living spaces, but with the steep mountain of stairs in the entryway and this lurking, impossible-to-baby proof ledge, they may be re-thinking our childrens’ friendships.

<sigh> There are still more pros than cons.  Instead of sucking my thumb or cuddling my blanky, it’s the mantra I repeat to soothe myself to sleep at night.

P.S. I’m still in denial that I’m moving and no boxes have been packed, no closets cleaned out, no pictures taken off the walls.  The Air Force paid for our last three moves and I didn’t lift a finger, literally.  I can for-see a problem in the future, like in the next two weeks.  Oh, and by the way, if you don’t know me personally, my family is supposed to move to China about March 1st for a 6 month job assignment.  Are we crazy?  Psychotic is more like it.

P.P.S. If you’re noticing funny indentations in my paragraphs, it’s because I can’t get over hitting the spacebar twice after a period.  Today, with the prevalence of proportionally spaced fonts, some believe that the practice is no longer necessary and even detrimental to the appearance of text.  I didn’t write that; I just copied and pasted from a website!  But I wish I had.  The sentence structure is divine.  So, anyhow, old habits die hard.  Maybe one day I’ll learn to hit the spacebar once.  But I’m resistant to change.  That’s why I’ve bought a new house and I’m moving to a foreign country this year.

let me share with y’all my inspiration for the dining room.  Primitive farm table juxtaposed with modern chairs.

I love the chunky, spiraled legs of this table contrasted with the yellow aluminum chairs.  Design perfection from Design Sponge. If you haven’t had the chance to check out this blog, leave my puny little posting and go find some REAL inspiration!

Here’s another super example from West Elm:

Our current dining set has lasted us through three moves and 6 years.  I purchased the blond, compressed wood ensemble at Sam’s Club a month before our wedding and boy, was I proud.  $250 bucks and that included a leaf and 2 extra chairs!  Let me tell you something – when it comes to dining chairs – you get what you pay for.  Bryan has complained (and so have I, but it’s more fun to use him as a scapegoat cause he can’t defend himself) for 6 years about how uncomfortable those chairs are.

Our new dining room is 14×20 and that gives me the lovely excuse to purchase a new set.  I’d been poking around a bit online; Restoration Hardware has a to-die-for trestle table that gives me goosebumps:

But 3K+shipping doesn’t fit into the yet-to-be-placed-on-paper budget.

On the drive home from closing, Bryan and I drove past my favorite antique store in Jenks, Blue Heron Mercantile.  It’s a small place, so the chance of finding our farm table seemed slim, but I love having an excuse to shop so in we went.  We opened the door and THIS is the first thing we saw:

No lie!  It pretty much smacked us in the face.

10 1/2 feet long,

delicious turned legs,

stunning patina.  You can’t buy patina, ya know?

It was the “One” and Bryan knew it but he still had to drag me from the store before I plunked down my credit card.  We bought the table a week later, but it felt “adult” to take careful measurements, research different options – ya know, make an informed and responsible decision.  I wish I had pictures of the table in the room (and p.s. sorry for the terrible iphone picture quality – these shots do not so this table justice) but the painters are still taping and priming.

I’ll share the story of our dining chairs soon.  But, they are the most comfortable and least expensive dining chairs in the whole country!  And Bryan can’t accuse me of exaggeration on this point.

Panic-stricken over paint.

I’m not a planner.  And at this stage of my life, I’ve decided to just go with it.  Thankfully, I’m married to a first-rate planner and surround myself with friends who buy me birthday calendars for my birthday so I won’t forget other people’s birthdays, let me know what time to meet them for coffee and remind me that it’s chick-fil-a day at preschool so I don’t have to pack my kid a lunch. Yes!

So, it should come as no surprise that I choose paint colors based upon those miniscule swatches that are so fun to slip out of their neat little compartments at Home Depot.  All these pretty colors lined up in a row screaming “Pick me! Pick me!” – it’s confusing and liberating at the same time.  You mean, I can paint my wall any color I want!?  Ugh, why in the tarnation are there 30 different shades of cream?

I’ve never once purchased a sample or a gallon as a trial run.  Frankly, I don’t have the patience.  For the most part all my choices have been stellar with one exception: Elliot’s room is almost bubble gum pink (barf), but my faithful husband painted the room while I was out of town.  The delicate, blush pink I was envisioning never came to fruition as Bryan refused to repaint.  But my dear twin, Jess, informed me it would be the world’s greatest sin to choose our paneling color based on a 1.5×1.5 inch square.  So, here’s what I ended up with:

Remember, I told y’all there is like a million square feet of this stuff so the wrong paint choice could reduce a grown woman (me) to thumb-sucking in the fetal position.  To maintain the integrity of the home’s character, we decided to paint all the paneling the same color.  Plus, I think paneling in anything other than a neutral would probably look like a fraternity house nightmare.  After much consideration and more bitten nails, we’ve (or rather I’ve, cause Bryan knew I would play my trump card) decided on “Architectural Cream” and “Mexican Feather Grass”.  Don’t they sound worldly and glamorous?  Bryan told our painter, Sol, that we chose Mexican Feather Grass in honor of him to which I almost had a heart attack.  But Sol thought it was hilarious so I’m pretty sure our walls and trim will end up the right shades…I think.  And I’m maintaining my mental health despite questioning my decision numerous times in the last 24 hours.  I better move along, I’m starting to hyperventilate, pondering it again.

No matter what, I’m pretty sure The Brown House will be pleased by the social bump she’ll enjoy, being dressed in fresh new colors.

Sol’s team got to work this weekend and have already started applying the two coats of oil based primer it takes to cover up the brown stuff:

I know it’s just primer, but it already looks a million, thousand, hundred percent better.  I’m sure I lost a few brain cells in just the minute or two that I walked through.

And just cause this made me laugh today, here’s Ellie, tangled up in her cloth diaper after naptime.  I have no clue how she got into this predicament:

Yikes!  It’s past midnight and I’ve got to get my current house ready for an open house tomorrow.  Night, folks.

Free labor.

Remember when “adult” things like folding laundry and raking leaves were life’s greatest adventures?

We fell victim…

to The Brown House’s charms.  I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but she definitely made a heck of a first impression.  Word around town is, she scared away a lot of folks with her orange shag.  I’d like to think I could’ve looked past her outdated style – after all, it’s what’s inside that counts…right?  Thankfully, she spruced herself up a bit with new friese carpet before our first meeting.

Upon stepping past the threshold…

Um, those stairs tell me she might not like kids and why is she flashing that brown paneling?

Oooohh, that brass fixture is definitely a fashion DON’T but…wait… are those BEAMS?

Turning to the right:

Stop it…are those floor to ceiling windows?  Ok, she’s really turning on the charm.

I’m starting to get dizzy.  I need a closer look.

Did I say her paneling bothered me?  I mean, I hardly notice it anymore…But I’ll bet the kitchen is grody.  I better investigate.

Doesn’t look so bad from here.  Maybe it’s one of those good-looking from a distance, but all gnarly close up deals.

It’s not!  I love it!  I can see our future together!

I can see 15 year old William sitting at the bar with his friends as I serve them warm oatmeal cookies straight from the oven.  One of them says “Mrs. Blew, you are the coolest mom ever.”.  Ok, that last bit may be pushing it.  But, I love it that she makes me dream.  She’s bringing out my best features already.  I’m almost convinced we are soulmates.

What’s peeking up over the brick wall?

So full of surprises!  I think I’m gonna introduce her to my friends…

More floor to ceiling windows?!   Yup…my parents better haul it from Springfield for a visit…I can tell this is gonna get serious.  I just don’t want to walk them down these stairs: