To My Four Year Old

Dear Penny,

Several weeks ago, on the eve of your fourth birthday, you couldn’t wait for the morning, convinced that when you woke up you would finally be taller than Mommy. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if you did find yourself taller than Mommy one day, but I am glad that day is not today.

Growing up is in the forefront of your mind lately- vegetables are going down much easier for you these days with the promise that they will help you to grow big and strong, and you talk every day about what your life will look like when you are a grown up. So far, we know that you will live in a pink house with lots of flowers, and you will be a Mommy to one boy and two girls- Shushy, Creepy, and Rose.  Your children will let you read to them and cook for them, and they will be very cute and very silly. How could they not be with names like those?

I have no doubt that you will be a very good Mommy one day, if that’s what you choose to be. Your loving and compassionate nature will make anyone who is a part of your life very lucky indeed. For now though, I am really hoping that you just enjoy being four. It is such a fun age, for you to experience and for me to watch. It is about becoming more curious about the world, and more independent. It is about forming friendships and dreams for the future, and discovering who you are and what you truly love.

Today, at the age of four, you are a girl with a fierce love for your family. You are also a girl who loves to create. Just yesterday, you made Daddy his very own coloring book full of things he loved, (including a very large mug of frothy beer), because he didn’t have one. You made your sister a Daniel Tiger themed story book for her to read at bedtime, and you made me a book about our family. My favorite page is the portrait you made of me in the morning, complete with glasses, striped pajamas, and bed head. The amount of thought and detail you put into everything is truly amazing. You love nothing more than sitting at your art table with a fresh piece of paper, and I love watching to see what you will come up with next.

Another place you will happily be is helping your Mom in the kitchen. You are getting really good at cutting up fruits, and love to help me bake or prepare dinner. You also like to help me clean, and I am going to enjoy this phase for as long as it lasts.

You are a rather emotional little girl, and are still learning how to handle the strong feelings that you have. You have never in your life thrown a tantrum- instead, your eyes well up with tears as you fight to let them fall when you are feeling upset. Your response is to hide and close yourself off when your feelings get too intense, and curiously enough, you have a similar response when you get too excited as well. When your favorite parts of a song or movie play, you often cover your ears and hide, as though you just can’t handle the excitement that you are feeling. It can be amusing, but also incredibly sweet.

I know every parent thinks this about their children, but your Daddy and I truly believe you are the sweetest, smartest, most amazing little girl with the biggest heart in all the land. Keep loving and learning and growing my sweet girl, but most importantly, enjoy being four!

*These photographs were taken last winter, so of course Penny looks like a million years older now, but Amanda Seifert Photography captured her personality so well, I had to include them in this post!

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As soon as the offer was accepted on our new old home, our wheels started spinning with renovation ideas. We had so many plans, and wouldn’t be able to do them all at once (budget and a 7 week timeline before move in day being the main constraints), so we had to prioritize.

The number one priority for me was patching and painting all of the walls and trim. And removing all of the popcorn ceilings (not for the faint of heart). The walls looked like they hadn’t been repainted in years, and the majority of the house was a flesh toned color that did nothing to brighten the space, in spite of all of the windows and natural light. We also knew we wanted to knock down a wall and another partial wall. Basically, all the dusty and messy stuff needed to get done before we moved us and all of our belongings into the new place.

That left room, realistically, for one more project- renovate the kitchen or renovate the full and half baths. All three of these spaces were in need of renovating, but they were also all in livable condition. It was really a matter of what we wanted to get done more and what we could live with waiting on. We ultimately decided to renovate the kitchen, because I felt like living through a kitchen renovation down the road, while residing in our home, would be more difficult. That, and kitchens are just more fun!

The next question was exactly how much renovating we wanted to do. The only elements of the kitchen we really liked were the bead board walls and the two light filled windows. The cabinets weren’t our favorite by any means, but we could potentially repaint them and save money there. Everything else- the rusty old appliances, the horrible drop ceiling, the even more horrible peel and stick faux marble floor tiles- had to be addressed. We also needed to consider layout- now was our chance to customize the kitchen to our liking, and we really wanted to get it right (which we didn’t, exactly, but more on that later).

The main problem with the kitchen was that it felt really closed off from the rest of the house. I didn’t necessarily want to knock down a bunch of walls and change our entire house into the open concept style that is so popular these days. I actually liked that this home felt like an older home, and there is a certain coziness to having separate spaces. But I also didn’t want the kitchen to feel like an isolated space in the back of the house, so we opted to make a few minor changes that we thought would help add flow to the home while still keeping its’ original integrity.

First, we decided to remove the cabinetry and dated mirrored back splash in that odd little alcove, and knock down that wall. Behind that was our living room, so it would create a nice pass through to that side of the house. Kevin cut that hole in the wall literally the day we closed on the house- it couldn’t come down fast enough! We soon discovered that there was also an old brick chimney that had been plastered over, and we quickly worked to expose that as well.

The other major change we made was cutting out the top half of the wall looking into the dining room, which made a huge difference in opening up both spaces. Because that wall was where the fridge was originally located, we knew we would have to change the layout of the appliances slightly, and thus the cabinets. When we took a closer look at the cabinetry, it became obvious that the age and quality (there were no backs on them), meant that we wouldn’t be able to simply relocate them- they were not worth repainting and would have to be replaced.

Once we had a game plan, I got to work on the fun part- the design plan. Even though we would be doing the labor ourselves, we were still on a tight budget, which would play a major role in the materials and finishes we ended up using. Still, I am no stranger to working within a budget, and was giddy to be renovating a kitchen that would pretty much be a blank slate!

In keeping with the historic style of our colonial home, we opted to go for a modern farmhouse look. Kevin and I started pinning images we liked on Pinterest for inspiration, and were really drawn to photos of kitchens from the 1930s in particular.

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What we liked about them was that instead of matching upper and lower cabinets everywhere, the storage pieces were separate pieces of furniture. Even the sink and appliances often stood alone as opposed to being built into the kitchen. As a nod to this style, we knew we would want some separate piece of furniture for storing pantry items, whether a hutch or shelf or buffet, and we also knew that we didn’t want any upper cabinetry. We opted instead for simple shaker style lower cabinets (surprisingly affordable ones from Lowe’s) and open shelving on the walls above, since we really liked the look of our dishes and were happy to display them anyway.

The other sort of controversial choice we made was to go with white appliances. I know everyone feels like they need to get stainless steel these days, but honestly, I’m over it. It felt too modern for this house in particular, and I wanted the appliances to sort of blend into the background rather than stand out. Besides, we knew we wanted gold finishes in the cabinet knobs and pulls (and a gold towel bar instead of putting fake pulls on that drawer below the sink, an idea I saw on Pinterest and loved). A retro style Smeg fridge was the ultimate dream, but out of our price range, so I was happy to find a line of appliances called GE Artistry that still had a retro look to them- I mean, how stinkin’ cute is the little clock on that stove?! I was also really loving the painted cabinetry thing that has been happening all over the design blog world, and thought a deep green would be so striking.

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Lastly, a combination of butcher block counter tops by the dining room cut out and quartz counter tops by the farmhouse apron front sink would bring in both some warm wood tones and the cool marble look I had been coveting. For the floors, we would go with a classic black and white tile- timeless and affordable. Thus my first design board for our kitchen was born:

We planned on moving the stove over and putting the fridge next to it, with a shelf above for storage. By the sink, we wanted to remove the upper cabinets and replace with 2 more shelves on each side. Finally, under the cute arched window by the walkway to the living room, I toyed with the idea of a little bistro table and chairs. It was all looking pretty good, and we were getting excited about our vision for the space. And then life happened.

The first issue was with the cabinets and the fact that we were buying them from a big box store instead of having them custom made. Because the drawer fronts were not deep enough, we wouldn’t be able to do the apron front sink of my dreams, and would instead have to do a drop mounted white sink. The other problem was paint- even though I loved the look of painted cabinets, the reality was that we were buying new white cabinets with a very slick factory finish, and it would have been nearly impossible for us to sand them down enough for the paint to stick, then paint them well enough to look professionally done. The last thing I wanted was for us to do all of that work, only for the paint to start peeling off. Had we been refinishing the old cabinets, I would have definitely done it, but it was just feeling like too much work for brand new cabinets with not the best quality wood. Who knows what we would have found once we started sanding them? Plus, we started to wonder if maybe the dark green painted cabinet look was a trend that we would eventually tire of. The cabinets were new, white, a safe color that would always suit our tastes, and it would save us a ton of time and effort to just leave them as is.

The next thing I had to give up was the quartz counter tops. I really loved them, truly, but I also really loved the butcher block, and as the renovations went on and more and more things kept coming up (thus bleeding more and more money from the budget), we ultimately decided to save and just go with the butcher block everywhere. I wasn’t too upset, as I really loved the warm look of it (especially since our cabinetry would now be white on white walls with white appliances), but promised myself I would find a way to bring in that marble look I loved elsewhere, perhaps in the form of a marble tray or other kitchen accessory.

As we got to demoing and painting, we realized that not all of the bead board on the walls would be salvageable, particularly where the upper cabinets had been flanking the window above the sink. We made a last minute decision to do white subway tile all the way to the ceiling on that wall instead, and I am so glad that we did. It’s such a simple but classic detail that adds just another subtle, interesting element to our kitchen.

Another last minute decision was to go a little bolder with the floor tiles.

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I had been coveting the aged cement tiles that are becoming really popular with kitchens as of late, (but again they were not in our price range), and then I stumbled upon a porcelain tile on Wayfair with a similar look for a fraction of the price. I loved how the bold pattern would create interest in our otherwise white and understated kitchen, and Kevin agreed.

So here is our revised design board- I changed out the wooden hutch for a gray washed buffet, because of all of the wood tones that would now be brought in with our counter tops. I also love how it pulls some of the gray tones from the floor tiles. You may also notice that the fridge is different- once we went to order the first one, they couldn’t find it in stock anywhere and we had to find a new one very quickly. Still, I think it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I love having a freezer on the bottom (we hardly ever use it), and the shorter french doors definitely help in the tight space. Still got that cute little retro style stove though!

cabinets / floor tiles / fridge / stove / butcher block counter tops and shelves / faucet / cabinet pulls / cabinet knobs / towel bar / milk glass pendant / black library sconce / cast iron shelf brackets

So there you have it! The kitchen is almost done (with the exception of some trim work that needs to be installed and painted), and we really do love it. Its such a pretty space, white and bright the way I like it, but with lots of warm textures in the walls and counter tops. I am obsessed with our open shelving- the cast iron cobweb brackets bring in so much character, and I love being able to put away and get dishes down so easily from those shelves.

Still, after living with it for a few months, there are some more changes we are now planning on making. We want to move the fridge from its’ current location beside the stove, as it just feels like it sticks out too far and blocks to much of my favorite view when coming in from the living room. The plan is to steal some space from the half bath behind the wall (along the walkway toward the living room) and recess it into the wall. Then, we can get another lower cabinet to place beside the stove instead. We are also still on the hunt for the perfect buffet piece for under the arched window- I am hoping to find something vintage and full of character, that can conceal our pantry items and microwave (which is currently and most inconveniently residing outside in the shed, as I refuse to take up all that precious counter space on an ugly ol’ appliance).

I am dying to show you pictures of our kitchen as it is today, but can’t bring myself to get professional photos done until it is completely finished! Not sure when that will be, but let’s hope for soon. In the meantime, I will be sharing little glimpses on instagram (and maybe even an instastories tour), so follow me there!

Tell me your thoughts! Would you have chosen to renovate the kitchen or the bathrooms? Do you prefer the first design plan or the second? Would you ever consider doing butcher block counter tops in your own kitchen? Do you think we’re crazy for going with white appliances? I want to hear it all!

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If there is one thing I’ve learned over the last several years, it’s to always be prepared for change. I’m not just talking about the changes that happen to you (although there will be plenty of those), but the changes that happen because of you. The ones that come from the inside, working their way out and creating a chain of events that leads you to a totally different place from where you were or ever imagined you would be. Does doing something you never thought you’d do mean that you aren’t being true to who you are? Or does it mean recognizing and acknowledging that who you are now is different from who you were yesterday, or who you will be tomorrow, and that’s okay? Because you guys, we did it again. It started with an inkling, a teeny thought, or idea rather, way back in January. And now here we are, months later- that little seed has sprouted into something very large and full of life, and once again our lives look completely different.

Let me take you back to the beginning. It was January, we had just finished clearing away the Christmas decorations, Kevin was done traveling for a while, and we could finally sit back and breathe after the hectic holiday season. Life was good, we were happy. And yet I couldn’t stop thinking about the email we had recently received from our landlord, asking if we planned on renewing our lease in July. Kevin and I had assumed we would, had not even questioned it, really. Still, for some reason I found myself reluctant to reply.

I kept chewing it over in my head, and before I knew it I found myself secretly checking the Trulia app on my phone almost daily. I think it started out of curiosity. We were paying an exorbitant amount of money in rent each month (so much so that our meager eating out/entertainment budget made it almost pointless to live in the center of downtown), and I wondered how much money we would save by moving just a little further away. I found a couple options that were significantly more affordable and still in desirable, walk-able neighborhoods within 15 minutes of downtown, and when the timing felt right (meaning he had a nice cold beer in his hand and was in a chipper mood), I brought up the idea to Kevin.

He was understandably shocked that moving was even on my radar, having only lived in our dream place for 6 months. But as I started talking, a whole bunch of explanations spewed out before I could stop them, things I didn’t even realize I was feeling until I said them out loud: the amount of our budget being spent on rent each month, the isolation of being one of the only stay at home moms in the area, the feeling of dread when one of our neighbors in the building would have a noisy party that would surely keep the girls up late, the frequent texts from our downstairs neighbor complaining that the pitter-patter of the girls’ little feet as they played in their home was too noisy, having to walk the dog multiple times a day because we didn’t have a yard…you get the idea). Kevin pointed out that we  knew about all of these issues going into it, and plenty of people all over the world survive without a yard and share walls with neighbors and are perfectly fine, and wasn’t it a small price to pay to be able to live in our dream location, and would it really be worth moving to a different area just to save a couple hundred dollars in rent… and not so very long ago, I would have agreed and said he was right. I had heard all of these things before- heck, I had said all of these things before (remember this post?). But it wasn’t about any one of these complaints that had slowly been festering in my head. It wasn’t even about the culmination of them. It was something about not feeling completely comfortable in our own home. Our own home. And that’s when it hit me.

“What if we bought a home instead?”

Now I know what you’re thinking. Weren’t we already homeowners once before? Weren’t we dying to get out of the suburbs, tired of the HOA complaints if our yard didn’t have the right kind of pine straw, sick of having the choice between Ruby Tuesdays and Applebees on a Friday night? Didn’t we love being able to call the landlord when something went wrong, spending our weekends enjoying our city rather than mowing our unruly lawn? It’s true, we had not been happy in our previous homeowner situation. It had never really felt right, not quite us. It was almost as though we had been playing house, doing the thing we thought we were supposed to do. Moving downtown was bold and risky, and surely everyone thought we were a little bit crazy, but at least we were listening to our hearts. It was exciting to be doing what we had always wanted to do, living out our fantasy. It felt more like us for sure. But was it a perfect fit? I still wasn’t convinced.

So we decided we would take what we had learned from two very different experiences and finally figure out what it was that we really wanted. There is no perfect situation, and you can argue both sides to every scenario, but the past couple of years had definitely given us a better idea of what was most important to us. Location was still number one, but downtown prices were completely off our radar, so we would have to look elsewhere. It would need to be a place with walk-ability, near shops and restaurants we actually liked to go to. It would need to have charm and character, a history. Our previous homes had been fairly new builds in newer neighborhoods, and although we had made changes to the insides to make them feel more like us, we never felt truly attached to them. Renting in historic downtown had taught us that old homes would forever have our hearts, so that’s what we would need to get. An older home in an older neighborhood full of character and friendly neighbors who had a pride in their community. And most importantly, it would have to be ours. A place where the girls could run freely, and Kevin and I would have plenty of projects to do to make it shine. Projects that we would be happy to do, because we would be caring for a home that we truly adored, that we wanted to lovingly restore and cultivate for our family. Soon, we had our answer.

We decided to look solely in Park Circle, a trendy up and coming neighborhood 15 minutes from downtown Charleston, full of cute old homes and its’ own downtown area with fantastic restaurants. We set up some showings for that week, and before we knew it we were once again house hunting!

The plan was to spend the next few months looking at homes in the area, find the perfect place, and still have a couple of months to do any necessary renovations before our lease was up in July. But when have we ever done things the way we planned to?

Instead, we fell in love with the 4th house we saw on our very first day of house hunting. It was a 1930s white colonial with old plaster walls, and a kitchen and two bathrooms in need of a complete overhaul. But it was perfect. 1400 square feet, not too big but not too small, since we knew from living downtown that we actually liked the minimal lifestyle of having less to take care of. 3 bedrooms, 1 and a half baths. Original wood floors with a gorgeous inlay detail. Crystal doorknobs with brass art deco plates. Arched doorways. Built ins in the living and dining rooms, and a cute little telephone nook in the entry. It was priced well, a steal in the neighborhood, with a ton of potential. When our realtor called the seller’s agent to find out the details, she discovered that there were multiple offers on the property, and we would have 3 days to come back with our best and final offer. My heart sank- I was already envisioning us there, covered in paint and knocking down walls, and now we were being forced to make some very big decisions very quickly.

We knew we had stumbled upon a gem, and we weren’t the only ones who had. The competition factor definitely upped the ante for us, so we decided to offer full asking price (which was also the maximum amount we were approved for), write the sellers a personal letter, and hope for the best. A very long day later, and we had our answer- we were about to be homeowners again!

We closed on our new home in mid February, spent several weeks renovating, and moved in at the end of March. Our landlord had agreed to let us out of our lease early (thank goodness for small miracles), and we had 7 weeks to scrape popcorn ceilings, repair and repaint very cracked and damaged walls, knock down other walls, and completely demolish and renovate the kitchen. Did I mention we were doing this ourselves, with the help of my amazing contractor father (as well as countless family and friends who either took a sledgehammer to a wall or watched the girls so I could help paint), all while Kevin continued to work 40 plus hours a week at his day job? The sheer amount of work that went into just getting the home move in ready for us in that short amount of time was insane.

But we did it! I still can’t believe we did it. Just days before we moved in, the floors still covered in paint splatters and a thick layer of dust quite literally everywhere, and I didn’t think it would be possible, yet here we are! Proof of what a little determination and hard work can do. And proof that you can think you want one thing, only to learn that what will really make you happy looks completely different. But this is life folks! It’s about evaluating what we have, what we need and what we want, whatever that may be at any given time, accepting the changes that happen both to us and within us, and finding a way to make it all work.

There are so many things I want to share with you, (so very much more than these grainy photos- although to be fair it was a construction site at the time and before photos are supposed to look bad), but this post is too long as it is, so I’m going to have to take it one day and one room at a time. I will just tell you that we are all completely smitten with our home and our neighborhood, the changes we have made and the exciting changes still to come. We are so very far from done, but one thing is certain- this feels like us. Dare I say we are finally home?

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Oh Sweet Lucy, where to begin. I am very late in writing this post, as you turned 2 on March 31st and we are well on our way into May. I have no excuse for my procrastination except to say that in my mind, turning 2 means that you are officially not a baby anymore, and admitting that my baby is not really a baby is super hard to do. And Lucy, you are so clearly not a baby anymore.

Maybe it’s having an older sister that you are desperate to catch up with, or maybe it’s your driven personality (you get that from your Daddy), but it seems like you are growing up much faster than I had anticipated. No more diapers, no more crib, and you have handled and embraced these changes so smoothly it almost makes my head spin. You are talking in sentences and singing songs, and trying to do everything yourself just like your sister does it.

You still think Penny is the coolest girl around, and find Daddy pretty hilarious too, but you are definitely Mommy’s girl through and through. You went through a phase recently where whenever we spent time around anyone outside of our immediate family, you would cling to me like a second skin and refuse to even look at anyone else for at least an hour. It was slightly annoying and inconvenient at times, but now that it’s over I will admit that I didn’t exactly hate the extra snuggles.

You are not a morning person. If anyone opens your bedroom door to say good morning before you are ready to start your day, you scream and thrash around until you are finally left alone again. I just laugh and leave you to it, probably because I can kind of relate. You prance out of your room all cheery and full of smiles a couple of minutes later, and it’s as though nothing has even happened.

 

Your puppy is still very well loved (as people will often mention when they see you out and about with him), and it’s hard to imagine a time when you won’t require his cuddly services at bedtime. We left him in a Lowe’s parking lot a couple of weeks ago, and got all the way home before we realized it. That was a rough afternoon, but thankfully he arrived back home safely and in one piece.

You love to do anything that requires focus, like coloring or puzzles, and have only recently started to get really into books, which makes me super happy. You will basically do anything your sister wants to do though, and there really isn’t anything cuter than seeing the two of you play together.

You know the words to all of the Moana songs, and would definitely watch it every day if we let you. (For a while there, we kind of did). Your favorite character is Maui (“Wowee”), and listening to you sing “I know it’s a lot, the hair, the BOD” pretty much makes our day.

You are a painfully picky eater these days, (painful because sometimes you won’t even touch your pizza or chocolate chip pancakes, and I’m sitting there with my healthy salad or veggie omelette all jealous and fighting the urge to not force feed you), and often it seems as though you are living off of fruit and goldfish crackers. You are skinny and tall for your age (not sure where you get that from, honestly), and remind me of a tiny pixie with your soft wispy hair and cute little upturned nose. I could stare at you, running around in pig tails with that teeny squeezable butt (which has been bare the last couple of weeks due to potty training) all. day. long.

You have a wicked little laugh, more of a cackle really, and Daddy spends most of his time with you trying to make you laugh just once more so we can hear it again.

Basically, we all just adore you and don’t know what we’d do without you in our lives. Penny always tells me how you are her very best friend and practically begs me to wake you up early from your nap each afternoon because she misses you too much (don’t worry, I never do- I know better by now). Daddy will goof around with you and get you all riled up and silly at any time of day (particularly right before bed, which he knows makes Mommy mad, but does it anyway because he loves you just so darn much). And Mommy? She is fighting the urge to eat you right up practically every minute of every day, you’re just that yummy.

Thank you for so perfectly completing our family, Lucy Pearl! We love love love you.

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6 months after moving out of our single family house and renting our first apartment downtown, we were finally able to sit back and breathe. Our old house had finally sold, and we were feeling quite settled and content on Queen Street. All of the little projects had been tackled, everything had been hung on the walls, and it felt like home. The ringing of the nearby bells on Church Street had become an expected and welcome sound in the background of our days, and we were used to the constant stream of tourists in front of our windows each day, excitedly pointing out the charming homes and shops along the way. And we lived in one of them! It was pretty idyllic, almost dreamlike, to be able to just focus on the here and now and be happy, without any nagging worries going on behind the scenes.

The problem with dreams, though, is that eventually there is a moment when you have to wake up. Finding out that we wouldn’t be able to renew our lease was that moment for us. Our landlord had decided that he wanted to move into our unit, and we would have to leave. It was quite the blow, learning that we would be forced to pick up and move yet again, with two young kids in a very competitive rental market. We took a minute to mourn and wallow in our bad luck, and then hit the streets looking for a new place to call home. And that’s when we learned, once again, that things often happen for a reason, and maybe there was a place out there that we would love even more.

So let me back track and tell you about the day that we saw the place we are currently calling home. I can still remember the look on the landlord’s face when he saw us walk up to the imposing Charleston double style home towering over Wentworth Street, showing off with its’ ornate Italian style double piazzas and Victorian double doors. His eyes widened in surprise, taking in our double stroller that housed two small children, and he said with an ominous chuckle, “You are all planning to live here? It’ll be tight!” (And he didn’t even know about the dog and two cats yet!). We laughed nervously and assured him that we were used to small living, and apprehensively followed him inside. I have no doubt that as he trekked up the grand staircase ahead of us to the second floor apartment, he was thinking that this would be a complete waste of his time. I, however, was too busy deeply breathing in the musty odor that only accompanies old homes and taking in the intricate plaster work along the moldings and chandelier to care.

After escaping the dank, dimly lit stairwell and patiently waiting for him to open the door to the unit, we were rewarded with a flood of natural light. I think that is what first sold me on this place- all that glorious sunlight streaming through the windows. How could you not be happy in a place like that? Ignoring the college student decor (or lack thereof) and mattresses on the floor, I couldn’t help but look around the place in awe. The shockingly tall ceilings, double fireplaces, huge windows and french doors everywhere I looked had my jaw dropping to the floor. Stepping out onto the large Southern style piazza (which was pathetically adorned with one sad little folding chair at the time), had me dreaming all sorts of dreams of what this space could be. There would be reading, and relaxing, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

View More: http://amandaseifert.pass.us/wentworth-home
View More: http://amandaseifert.pass.us/wentworth-home

After Kevin and I had kindly thanked the landlord for showing us the place and had pushed the stroller out of ear shot, we both had the exact same sentiments- there was no way we could live there, but we HAD to live there. Let me explain.

So, while we had already downsized, we were still living in a pretty standard set up on Queen Street. We had the lower flat of a 2 story home, with a long driveway for parking, and a backyard. There was a living room, a playroom, a dining room, kitchen, two normal sized bedrooms. Besides the occasional pitter-patter from the neighbors above us, we could almost pretend we were still living in a single family home, so it wasn’t a far stretch from what we were used to. This place, on the other hand, was a far stretch.

For one thing, there was a shared parking lot out back, but no yard for the girls to play in or for the dog to use when nature called, and no additional parking for guests. There was an intimidating amount of stairs leading up to the unit (and I could just imagine the headache that would come with trying to get two children up and down those stairs, along with a cumbersome double stroller). The front door opened right into the living area, with no separate entry. There was also no separate dining area (and only a tiny galley style kitchen), so the dining table would have to be in the living area as well, which, although it felt deceivingly spacious with the super tall ceilings, would definitely be a challenge to arrange furniture wise. The only closet in the entire unit was also in the living area (yes, you read that right, there were no other closets). Immediately to the right of the front door was another door leading to an almost identical room that would be the master bedroom. It felt enormous at first, until we realized that the second bedroom was a tiny room off of the bedroom, so in order to create some sort of pass-through between the bedrooms we would need to figure out a way to divide it up. The current tenants had a long curtain going across the room for privacy, which I wasn’t feeling and knew we would have to come up with a different solution should we decide to live there. I had no idea how we would fit a bed and a crib into the second bedroom, let along something to store clothes. And what about the toys? There was no way we could store toys in that bedroom, and the living space would already be cramped housing both living room and dining room furniture. There was just no way we could make it work.

And yet…

That natural light. Those windows. Two fireplaces. Three sets of french doors leading out onto a breathtaking piazza. A claw foot bath tub. An entire wall of built-ins in the bathroom. Ornate crown moldings. Original wood floors. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. We went home that night still discussing the place on Wentworth, going back and forth over how many challenges there would be to make it work for our family. We looked up the history of the home and learned that it had been built around 1850. It had survived the Civil War, the great earthquake, and Hurricane Hugo. Finally our weakness for historic charm and character (and our apparent need to make things difficult for ourselves) won out and we put in an application. I think by now you should know that Kevin and I tend to follow our hearts over our heads, (for better or worse), and just trust that everything will work out. I was nervous but also excited for the challenges ahead. If I could make this space work for us, I could make any space work…right?

Almost 7 months later, and I can’t believe we ever doubted we could do it. I am going to share a tour of our space very very soon, (I would do it now but I think this novelesque post is quite long enough for one day, and thank you if you have stuck with me this far!) along with some of the things that helped make it possible for our family of four to live comfortably in less than 1000 square feet (spoiler alert: purging and de-cluttering was huge). Until then, here is a little teaser of the outside of the building.

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Wouldn’t you need to live here too?!

Photographs by Amanda Seifert Photography

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Count Your Blessings

December has not been the easiest of months as far as parenting goes. It has little to do with the fact that Lucy is teething yet again and Penny seems to have officially given up naps, and more to do with the fact that I have had to do so much of it alone. Kevin’s job has once again forced him to spend days at a time jetting off to opposite ends of the country, causing me to have more pity parties than I care to admit.

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Parenting by yourself is no joke, and not just because you are forced to handle all of the responsibilities- all of the meal prep and post meal clean up and diapers and middle of the night wake ups (although that is a huge part of it), it’s also hard because it’s just plain lonely. When your 3 year old decides to use a new word  like “disgusting” but it’s completely out of context (“Mommy I feel so disgusting” while happily rubbing her belly), or starts calling you “honey” (which feels incredibly condescending and sweet at the same time), you want to be able to look into your partner’s smiling eyes and laugh about it. Or when your almost 2 year old struts around the house saying “Dada, where are youuuu” on repeat, you can’t help but feel a little sad. I know there are people in this situation all the time, or for months at a time while their partners are deployed, and my experience is nothing to cry about by comparison, but I’m just saying. When I am in the middle of yet another week of parenting alone, it does feel like something to cry about.

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On one such night, because I was relying on the television to lighten my parenting duties but couldn’t stomach yet another episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, I took Netflix’s suggestion and started playing “White Christmas.” The girls were pretty enthralled by the eye catching costumes and song and dance numbers, but the scene where Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney bump into each other while searching in the kitchen for a midnight snack is what really caught my attention. Do you know the scene? They sing a duet called “Count Your Blessings,” and it goes like this:

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep and I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small I think of when I had none at all
and I fall asleep counting my blessings.

I think about a nursery,
and I picture curly heads,
and one by one I count them
as they slumber in their beds.

If you’re worried and you cant sleep,
just count your blessings instead of sheep
and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

This song really resonated with me, and helped me to look outside of my own little problems and gain some perspective. Because it really is all about perspective isn’t it? Yes my husband has to go out of town a lot and yes this stage of parenting two small children is hard and yes I’m exhausted and yes it sucks going to bed alone. But I have a loving husband who works hard for his family and when he is here he is 100 percent here, and we have the privilege of raising these two perfect little creatures who we love more than life, in our beautiful little home in our beautiful little city and my God we are so lucky.

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Ever since that night, I have tried this little exercise of counting my blessings as I drift off to sleep, and it truly helps. It helps me to be mindful, and present, and grateful, and just at peace. Most importantly, it helps me to be a happier person, which is what we are all striving to be, right?

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The envelopes on our advent calendar are quickly dwindling down as I knew they would, and somehow only five remain to be opened. Five days until Christmas. Five perfect days where we can eat too many cookies and watch too many cheesy holiday movies and spend too many hours of the day in our pajamas, and just be together. With Kevin home for the holidays and it being the most wonderful time of the year and all, it’s really easy to be happy. But even when it gets harder, which it inevitably will, I’m hoping I can remember to count my blessings, because they are plentiful indeed.

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Happy Holidays to you all, and may your blessings be too bountiful to count.

Photographs by Amanda Seifert Photography

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It has been over a month since my last post, which seems like a long time, but when I think about all that we have crammed into these last several weeks I am actually surprised that it hasn’t been longer. It feels like we’ve been traveling more than we’ve been home, and now that things have settled down for us a bit, I wanted to document and reflect on all that we have done. Full disclosure: there is absolutely no mention of trains in this post (except for right now). I just felt it made for a catchy title. But the rest is all true!

It all started with Kevin finding himself having to take yet another trip to Seattle. Over the past few months, he has been flying rather frequently back and forth across the country, working on a Seattle based project and taking too many red eyes to count just to be able to see us for a few extra hours. It was wearing on him, and the girls were missing him, but I somehow managed to stay pretty positive about it (binge-watching Downton Abbey each night that I was alone helped with that). However, when I got a phone call from him on the night before he was due to arrive back from what should have been his last trip, I finally lost it (started blubbering incoherently over the phone to be more specific). Kevin told me that it looked like he would need to spend another 10 days out there, and we were all devastated. After talking it over, we decided that instead of suffering through even more time apart, we would use some of our sky miles and join him this time. We scrambled to find last minute flights, and Penny and I ended up getting seats on a different plane, while Kevin decided to take Lucy on his lap.

Because of our rush to pack for a 10 day trip in a very different climate, I had little time to worry about how the actual flight would go. Still, I was convinced that Kevin would have the rougher time, being that it was Lucy’s first flight and he would have to have her on his lap for the entire 6 hour trip. This was by no means Penny’s first flight (although likely the first she would remember), and it would be easier to keep her entertained with movies and crayons. Oh how wrong I was.

Getting Penny onto the plane while juggling with all of our bags proved to be no easy feat. As I pushed her ahead of me down the narrow aisle, her screaming in protest that she didn’t want to go on the airplane the entire way, I tried not to look at the faces of all the people we passed. I’m sure they were just as thrilled as I was about the impending flight. I eventually got her to calm down with Halloween stickers, and tried desperately to keep her entertained and distracted so she wouldn’t notice the take off. There were several trips to the bathroom, even more dropped crayons, and an untold number of stickers stuck in various places on both of us, but we somehow survived the journey. As I pushed my screaming toddler ahead of me once again to depart the plane (this time protesting that she didn’t want to get off), I wondered what poor Kevin would have to say about his experience.

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I shouldn’t have worried, of course. His summary went something like this: “Well, she kept busy playing with a straw for about an hour, then fell asleep on my chest for the rest of the trip.” Sigh.

The days went relatively smoothly from there. We stayed downtown and used public transportation the entire trip, so I didn’t have to worry about navigating the streets of an unfamiliar city by car all by myself. Our days fell into a routine of sorts- we would have breakfast with Kevin, then he would head off to work and I would go on an outing with the girls. Some days it was something more adventurous, like visiting Seattle Center to see the space needle and play at the children’s museum, and other days we kept it more low key, playing at the public library down the block from our hotel.

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One of our favorite mornings was walking to Pike Place Market, where we ate delicious donuts, gawked at the fish and shockingly cheap, gorgeous flowers for sale (I was super tempted to buy some dahlias but thought putting them in the drinking glass in our hotel room would just be too sad), and got free samples from friendly grocers of the sweetest and juiciest fruit we had ever tasted.

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There was lots of walking (up super intense hills, I might add), as I found it difficult to get both girls to nap in the hotel room and often resorted to walking the streets until they both crashed in their strollers, and there was coffee. Copious amounts of coffee. The cliches about coffee in Seattle are true- there is quite literally a Starbucks on every block, and I’m afraid I picked up a bad habit of drinking the stuff several times a day, a habit I am finding it difficult to break even now.

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By the end of our trip, we were definitely ready to head home, and almost forgot to dread the flight back. While we were able to sit together, Lucy decided to make up for her angelic behavior on the first flight by crying or whining almost nonstop. We were practically running off the plane when we finally landed, and I think I may have heard some cheering from our fellow passengers as well.

We didn’t have much time to settle back into our normal routine before the arrival of a hurricane threw us off course once again. As soon as we heard word that a mandatory evacuation was being put into effect because of Hurricane Matthew, we quickly scrambled to pack up our things and get out of town to try and beat the inevitable traffic out of Charleston. Our good friends in Charlotte were kind enough to take us in, in spite of being in the middle of a kitchen renovation, but we made the most of it with picnics in the yard and handing Kevin a sledgehammer. When the weekend rolled around, we packed up once again and bid our friends farewell, heading for the Asheville KOA.

Kevin had booked a cabin for us to stay in for 3 nights, and we all felt a little giddy when we got out of the car and surveyed our new surroundings. There were several cute wooden cabins set up, complete with their own porches and swings, and a kitchen pavilion in the center of them all. The bathrooms and showers were mere feet away, and were the nicest and cleanest campground facilities I had ever seen. We happily settled in for a long weekend of nature walks, cooking outdoors, and cozy campfires. We took some beautiful mountain drives (although I may have white-knuckled it the entire way up the mountain), made new friends, and visited some great breweries.

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It was a blast (except for one rough night when Penny found it difficult to fall asleep because of a rather noisy and terrifying cicada outside our window), and we left feeling refreshed and grateful for the unexpected vacation.

Now we are home for good (at least until Thanksgiving), and enjoying all this fall season has to offer. There has been plenty of Halloween crafting, pumpkin patch visiting, and daily viewings of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

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Penny has a major crush on Skeleton Jack, which is all well and good, but I can’t wait for the day when the girls discover the joys of “Hocus Pocus.” Penny and Lucy had a warm up trick or treating event at Hampton Park on Friday, where Penny debuted her Rapunzel costume, complete with flowers in her braided hair, and poor Lucy was stuck wearing a pumpkin t-shirt and the green pants to her far too hot for the weather Pascal costume (Rapunzel’s chameleon sidekick).

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As a parent who grew up in Michigan, where winter coats were often required to wear over our costumes on Halloween night, I clearly still have a lot to learn about planning costumes in South Carolina. Still, the girls are resting up for the main event as we speak, with dreams of melty chocolate and sticky lollipops dancing in their heads. The best of luck to all parents who will find themselves with sugar induced Halloween monsters tonight- and Happy Halloween!

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Dear Penny,

Somehow, you are 3. You’ve been telling people you were going to turn 3 for months now, always carefully holding down your thumb and pinkie to proudly display your 3 middle fingers, and on the morning of your birthday, when we asked you how old you were, you didn’t miss a beat. You were clearly ready to be 3. I, however, was not.

Since your birthday was 2 days before our move, we debated over how we would celebrate. A part of me felt like we should still throw a party, but with everything in boxes and so much still to do, we decided to ask you what you wanted to do instead. Your requests were to go to the children’s museum, eat cake with your family, and have balloons. We were more than happy to fulfill those requests.

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On June 29th, you woke up to find doughnuts and presents waiting for you, and the sugar overload continued from there. After lots of playtime at the children’s museum with some special friends, you oogled the display of cupcakes at the cupcake shop. A sprinkle covered Fourth of July themed cupcake first caught your eye, and you repeatedly insisted on that one, even as I tried to tell you about all of the other offerings. Your out of character choice surprised me, but just as I went to place your order, you quickly announced, “Actually, I want red velvet!” Just as I suspected, you would always end up going back to your favorite. You generously shared your treat with Lucy, and somehow managed to nap even with the excitement of the celebration still to come.

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After a long rest, we piled into the car and met our family at Taco Boy, the ideal festive setting for feasting on chips and queso to your hearts’ content. You were greeted with hugs, kisses, princess crowns and balloons, and shyly blew out the candles on your enormous slice of Tres Leches birthday cake before retiring to the patio for coloring and dancing. It was a perfectly intimate birthday, complete with your favorite people, places, and desserts, just as it should be.

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Since that day, it seems as though you have become a big girl overnight. I frequently chuckle with surprise and amazement at the clever and amusing things you say. You love to test out new words and phrases, and almost always use them correctly. You’ve added transition words to the mix, like also, because, and actually, and insist on not only speaking in complete sentences, but making sure that those around you do as well. Heaven help he who tries to get away with an “uh huh” or an “uh uh” when conversing with you. You also like to express your feelings, squealing “that makes me feel silly!” or sadly whimpering that something makes you “feel so sad” (being told no or getting hurt being the main culprits there).

You love pretending, putting your stuffed animal friends down for naps or reenacting scenes from Frozen. I find evidence of your imaginative games all over the house, and they always make me smile. You are incredibly caring and considerate, putting a blanket on Charlie when he is napping or leaving a little pile of Toby’s food beside him on the bed.

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One of my favorite things, however, is watching you embrace your role as a big sister. You have recently begun to appreciate what a special role it is, and enjoy Lucy more and more every day. The instant she turns fussy (which happens a lot lately, because, as you often remind us, “Lulu’s got teeth coming in”), you promptly retrieve her puppy and paci and shove them into her tiny hands. You refer to the two of you as “we,” informing us that “we need a snack” and “we don’t like broccoli.” You make each other giggle all the time, often with as slight a provocation as shared eye contact, and you insist on holding her free hand when we go for walks in the evenings. Recently, we have begun to put you girls to bed at separate times, due to the fact that you would have such a ball in your room together that neither of you was getting adequate sleep, and your tears and protesting cries of “but I need my sister! I need my baby called Lucy!” were almost too heartbreaking to bear.

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So much about you has grown, from your personality and communication skills to your long legs and cascading curls, and yet so much of you has stayed the same. You are still overly cautious, preferring the gentle thrill of the swings to the intense dips of the big kid slides. You have recently started going down the smaller slides, but only because you were motivated by your thrill seeking baby sister, who took to them immediately. You still adore books and music, just as you did as an infant, and can happily sit for hours crafting and creating art.

I see so much of myself in you, from your shyness and caution to your love for creative activities and the English language. I know that our similarities will be both a blessing and a curse, as I will understand you more than anyone else ever could, but will also inevitably find frustration in the things I see in you that bother me about myself. I want so much for you, but most of all I want you to be just as present and happy as you are right now. Watching you inspires me to be the same, and I will strive each day to simply be here and enjoy this moment, this life that is being your mom. You have taught me so much since the day you made me a mother 3 years ago, and you will continue to teach me and help me grow as a parent just as I watch you grow into the unique individual that you are.

Happy Birthday my special 3 year old. May you savor every moment of this time, and may you be in no hurry whatsoever to turn 4.

 

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Carpe Diem

Just over a year ago, Kevin and I did something very rash. I’ve talked on here before about our sudden move from our spacious, newish home in the suburbs to our small historic downtown apartment. But I never really talked about how it felt to make such a big change in this stage in our lives. Because if I’m being honest, it was really, really hard.

In a time when we should be happily settling into a family friendly neighborhood, with great schools and quiet streets and neighbors with young families, in a time when we should be content with our 2400 square foot house, complete with stainless steel appliances and a fenced in yard and plenty of bedrooms for gaggles of kids, we simply found that we… weren’t.

Shortly after Lucy was born, we were ready to venture out into the world again as a family of four, and spent a perfect spring day downtown. It was something we often liked to do- park on a residential street, walk to the farmer’s market, get lunch, waste away the afternoon in a coffee shop or park, and basically pretend like we lived downtown. Sitting on the patio of Kudu that afternoon sipping and iced latte, my heart got that familiar yearning it felt every time we visited downtown Charleston- a desire to be a part of the city life, and not just for a Saturday. Kevin and I again talked about our big plan- that one day, maybe in 5-10 years (if we were lucky), when our debt was paid off and he was hopefully making more money, we could finally sell our house and buy a place downtown. There was no way we could afford the steadily increasing price of a normal sized family home in the heart of Charleston in our current state, and our only hope was for our financial situation to one day improve drastically enough that our dream could become a reality.

But then, while gazing at Penny happily coloring at the table and Lucy napping in the stroller, in one of our heads, a light bulb went off. We asked ourselves- what if, instead of sitting around waiting and hoping that one day our situation would change, we instead changed our expectations in order to make it happen now. Maybe we didn’t need more money, or to own an impressive home downtown. Maybe we actually needed a lot less than we thought.

Within a week, we found ourselves looking at downtown rentals averaging 1000 square feet each. Wondering if we would be happy renting again, if we could really be comfortable as a family of four in a 2 bedroom flat. After seeing the place I wrote about in this post, we were sold on the idea. Our house went on the market, I started purging our belongings like crazy, and we began breaking the news to our family and friends.

We now look back on that summer as one of the hardest periods in our lives. In addition to adjusting to life with two young kids, we also had to endure the stress of trying to sell a home in a very slow market after having foolishly signing a lease on a new place that we would be moving into at the end of the summer. There was a lot of frantically mopping floors and wiping down counter tops while trying to rush the girls out the door for last minute showings. There was excitement when we would hear positive comments about our house, followed by disappointment when it wouldn’t result in an offer. There was also fear. A small but nagging fear that we were stupid for giving up home ownership and taking this huge financial risk. We were basically throwing away exactly what people our age are supposed to want, all in the name of pursuing our dreams.

When the fear came, or when peoples’ shocked responses to what we were doing made us admit to ourselves just how reckless we were being, we would again reassure each other that we were making the right decision for us. We valued location over square footage. We hated driving everywhere and dealing with traffic. We wanted walkability. Amazing restaurants and coffee shops out our front door. To be surrounded by character and charm and life and energy. To not have to waste away our weekends on house projects and yard work, to be able to simply make a phone call when there was a leaky pipe. To have less to clean and take care of. For the girls to grow up knowing the closeness of sharing a bedroom.

The truth was, we had never been more sure of anything in our lives. It was such a scary and also liberating feeling, to block out all the noise, the doubt, the expectations of what we should want and should be doing, and just listen to our hearts.

Since that time, a year ago now, we have grown very accustomed to our new way of life. Things are simpler in many ways. We have way less than we always thought we needed, only one car and just enough belongings to fit into our modest home with its’ even more modest closet space. We don’t have a yard, or a driveway, or a separate formal dining room. Our appliances are old, and our cupboards are few. And yet our lives feel so much richer. None of us have ever been happier, and we truly want for nothing. It is a strange feeling indeed, to be exactly where you want to be and have exactly what you want to have. And for it to just be enough.

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For those of you wondering, our house did eventually sell in October. It was a tough time for us, both financially and emotionally, but we now believe that it had to be that way in order for us to know for sure that we really wanted it. A few months later, we got some more surprising news- we would not be able to renew the lease on our apartment and would have to move again over the summer. But with less belongings and no house to sell, we were able to find a place we loved even more, and the move was quick and painless.

I sit here now, typing from our new old apartment in a historic, 1850s mansion that is just dripping with character, gazing frequently at the enormous palmetto tree out my window. The spacious southern balcony of my dreams waits for me just outside the double set of french doors off of my bedroom, beckoning me to sit with some iced tea and watch the goings on in the street below. And I think I just might oblige.

I look forward to sharing our new home with you, and in the mean time, I encourage you to find a way to have exactly what makes you happy now. We didn’t want to wait another 5 to 10 years to have the lives we wanted, because that would have meant another 5 to 10 years of being unhappy and wanting something we didn’t have. Instead we got creative, took some risks, and went for it. Don’t wait for things to fall perfectly into place- just prioritize what is most important to you and find a way to make it happen. I promise you won’t regret it.

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A little over a year ago, we decided to make a drastic life change. We put our spacious house in the suburbs, the one we planned on raising our family in, on the market, and rented a small flat in the heart of downtown Charleston. It was a bold move, and while there have been many adjustments since then, I can honestly say that the only thing we regret about it is the fact that Lucy never actually got to sleep in the nursery that we spent so much time getting ready for her. Luckily, my sister managed to snag some photos of it before we moved, so it can live on in the internet world if no where else.

I have always loved the story of Peter Pan, and thought it would be fun to design a nursery loosely based on that theme. I didn’t want Peter Pan prints and Neverland signs, (although I did buy a cool vintage copy of a Disney Peter Pan book on Etsy), but definitely wanted it to have that whimsical feel and spirit of adventure.

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Since Penny had the striking graphic wallpaper in her room, I knew I wanted to do some sort of cool wall treatment in Lucy’s room as well, and ended up painting a zigzag pattern on the walls to represent mountains, after finding some inspiration photos on Pinterest.

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We used the same soft gray that was in the rest of our house on the top (Notre Dame by Valspar), and a pretty mint green on the bottom (I can’t for the life of me remember the name of this one). It turned out beautifully, and added enough interest that there wasn’t much need to hang a lot the walls.

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Penny’s old Jenny Lind crib was moved in, as was a dark wood cabinet that had originally been used as a media console, but made the perfect changing table with its’ slightly nautical pirate feel. We also used a blue rug that we already had, because its’ graphic tribal pattern seemed to fit right in and added a nice punch of color to the bland beige carpeting. It was purchased several years ago, but there is a very similar one here.

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We also moved the Pottery Barn rocker from Penny’s room into this one, and added a fun starfish pillow and a basket with cozy blankets and a mermaid doll (the same doll that Penny was gifted when we had our much anticipated gender reveal in this post!), as a nod to Mermaid Lagoon. The light and airy flower mobile above the chair reminded me of fairies and Peter Pan’s hideout, and looked looked so soft and pretty hanging in that corner of the room. It is no longer available at Pottery Barn Kids, but this one and this one are similar.

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The antique fireplace mantel, which my Dad found at a Habitat for Humanity for a steal, had originally been used as a headboard for our guest bed, and we toyed around with what to use it for before ultimately deciding to display books inside. The character of the mantel reminded me of something that would be found in the Darling childrens’ nursery, and was the perfect place to display items that would be out of reach of curious hands. The clock, coral, and mint green picture frame were all found at Home Goods, and the vintage lantern was stolen from our living room. We painted the inside of the mantel a golden yellow to make it pop, and added a couple of Ikea picture ledges to display children’s books on.

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The teepee was a diy project that we found the instructions to here, using some wooden poles, twine, and a painter’s drop cloth. Bonus– there was no sewing involved, as sadly, my skills do not extend into that realm. The teepee paired with the faux bearskin rug (you can find a similar one here) gave a nod to the Lost Boys and Native Americans.

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My sister created all of the art work for the room with the exception of the seascape, (that’s right folks, this talented lady does more than just take gorgeous photographs!), and framed them in simple white Ikea frames. These photos were taken after our home was staged for sale, so the artwork was not pictured in the room in the name of simplifying and de-cluttering, but was originally hung above the changing table. This is also why there are no detail shots, but hopefully you can get a feel for the room from these few photographs.

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My favorite element in the room, however, was the yarn art hung above the crib. I wanted something that would take up a fair amount of space, make a statement, be lightweight and safe to hang above a sleeping baby, but was also budget friendly, and finally settled on creating this yarn art after seeing the idea on Pinterest (find instructions here). I literally found a long stick in the trail behind our house, and knotted some yarn around it- one of the coolest and easiest projects ever, and I loved the way it turned out.

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While it is clearly true what they say about second children getting all the hand me downs, I really love how this nursery is made up almost entirely of things we already had or DIYed. It was such a beautiful space to spend time in, and I truly appreciated the effort we put into the room. Children’s spaces are a great opportunity to have fun and make bold choices that you may be too afraid to make in other areas of your home, but they should also be places you are happy to spend time in as an adult. Let’s face it, I spent way more time looking at this room while nursing Lucy in her rocking chair during the first 3 months of her life than she did (her focus was on other…things). But don’t feel too badly for her- she is loving the room she now shares downtown with her big sister. I look forward to sharing the girls’ current room with you as well, in another post coming soon!

 

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