Friday, December 30, 2016

Master Bath Ideaboard

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday season.  This Christmas brought sadness to many I knew, but brought with it a valuable lesson for us all--cherish each and every moment with your friends and loved ones.  In a moment, they could be gone.  Consider each day a gift from God, regardless of our circumstances, battles, toddler tantrums, messes to cleanup, failures, and the list continues--they are each a gift, a blessing.

The last few months brought me to a realization that contentment is a choice, and it has to be an active choice.  Every day we must choose to appreciate the things we have, and not live in utter want for the next best thing.  This is a hard thing for me to digest because I am always trying to do "home improvements" and I realized there will be seasons where I just need to be content--to be settled.

This year I decorated our house using things we already had, not buying one thing for Christmas decor (well, maybe a few strands of replacement lights for our tree!).  It may not have been "on course" with the current trends of Holiday decor, but I felt my house was the prettiest and coziest it has ever been.

I have found that in seasons that I need to be settled (i.e. not spending/not doing) I function best by cleaning and organizing to deal with this "energy". I still daydream about future projects, but I try to keep them as just that--daydreaming and not preoccupying.

Here is a little glimpse into my Pinterest/Houzz "daydreaming" Master Bath Remodel Board.

1. Layout of bathroom that will work for our current bathroom...with some serious plumbing re-do's.
2. Benjamin Moore "Revere Pewter" to match our guest bathroom. Love this color and its warmth, class, and versatility.
3. Soaker tub. This is pretty much for me only. Which also involves a lock on the door, a glass of wine, and sound-cancelling headphones. Is that too much to ask?!
4. Calcutta Gold/Oro hex marble/honed tile for the shower flooring.  Love this in our guest bathroom, and will probably duplicate it when the time comes.
5. I love the panelling on this shower set up.  And the bench too, because it would be a great spot to set my glass of wine.
6. Pewter travertine, herringbone layout.  This is actually in our guest bathroom and hallway downstairs.  I love it, and since I cannot convince my husband to do wood, or wood-looking tile in our bathroom, this will probably be the flooring of choice.
7. I love this slightly rustic-looking vanity, but will have to find one with a bit more storage.  Not sure I can really throw everything in a basket and be cool with it.  I also can't Kon-Mari my way out of my bathroom necessities.  By the way, isn't this mirror fantastic?  I found this on Houzz (which is pretty obvious by my screenshot!) and did some serious searching.  It is called the Drake Mirror by Gabby that is roughly $850.  Yep.  I better start selling some organs if I want that one.  A girl can dream, right?

Well, there ya have it! This is probably a good couple years away, but it feels good to have direction for the future and daydream of course =) PS, any suggestions on how to do dream/vision boards without Word and 5,000 screenshots gladly appreciated!

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful 2017!  Hug your loved ones, and savor each and every moment with them.

God Bless.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Wow, it's been awhile. Life has gotten a bit crazy around here.  There is so much to catch up on, but I'll just start with where I left you hanging--the guest bathroom remodel.  We had all sorts of hang ups in the end of the project, which is for another day, another post--I just want to focus on the finished project.

My goal was to learn to operate our DSLR camera so I could post some wicked awesome pictures of how the bathroom looks in my eyes.  Well, I did try, but the pictures just couldn't do it justice (read: my skills are just no up to par!) and all of the pictures are yellow, and oddly enough, not level. This got me to thinking, maybe one of my legs is significantly shorter than the other and I'll just never have level pictures.   Hmm... Anyway, I decided enough was enough, and I just needed to post some pictures from my phone, since they weren't giving off the yellow-yuck hue that our camera was.  These pictures are not really Pinterest, Houzz, or quite frankly, blog-worthy, but I think you'll get the idea.  Heck, maybe someone could even tell me what I'm doing wrong with my camera.

So, here we go!

Here is the vanity I had built to look like the Restoration Hardware Printmaker's Console.  It is probably my favorite piece, the only thing that went as planned, and the thing I am most proud of from this remodel.  She saved me over $1500, and I got the type of marble I wanted on top.  The man who built this piece was crazy nice, done with the project early, and I think, totally nailed it!

Here is the purdy faucet I chose.  It is a gooseneck from Signature Hardware in polished nickel.

This is one of my favorite parts of the shower, that originally, I thought was going to destroy my "vision".  You see, I had planned on the shower ledge/shelf going directly in the center as the sort of "eye candy" to make the shower pop.  But, as remodels would have it, we found the plumbing ran right in the center, and it was not an option.  I was crushed, but had to move on.  My MIL suggested making it a little larger to make it "visually interesting", which I thought was a good plan--and you know what? Having it offset from the center makes the cleanup SO much better.   It doesn't get flooded with water, which in my book, is a total win!

Oh, there she is, that beautiful tiled shower I've been waiting for forever!  My first shower in here was magical.  I poured some La Croix (not wine, because, well, it was 1:00 in the afternoon (when I finally had time to shower) and it seemed a wee bit early to celebrate with the spirits ;) Pretty sure I could have stayed in here all afternoon, but I could only let me 4 year old play on the computer so long while I showered.  There--I admit it. I totally stuck him in front of a computer game so I could shower in peace while my other bambino napped.  Guilty as charged.

This is a shot of the flooring we used both in this bathroom and into the hallway and the laundry room that are all "next door" to this bathroom.  It is the Pewter Travertine from Contempo Tile, and I absolutely love how it turned out.  I knew it was a bit risky on several levels using travertine 1) with 3 boys/men in a house and 2) because it definitely breaks some rules in the design world from what I've been told.  Good thing I'm not a designer and don't have to follow rules, because I didn't--and I absolutely love how it turned out!  Who says you can't mix a travertine tile right next to a subway and a marble?! Not this girl!

By the way, these are my happy toes at 0530 before I had to go to work.  Happy toes, happy nurse, happy wife, happy life.

A better view of the tiled hexagon tile in the shower.  It is a honed marble that has pieces of calacatta gold marble to sort of tie in the calacatta marble top on our vanity. And, who doesn't love a good hex tile, am I right?! 

That about sums up this little guest bathroom (or as I have called it "mama's shower") remodel. Hope you enjoyed stopping by The Gray Abode.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall Home Tour--A Simplified Approach

One of my favorite seasons is fall here in the Northwest.  You see, I grew up in a desert in Southern California where there were two seasons--hot summer and mild summer.  Leaves didn't fall.  The only thing that changed color was the grass, and that was because a different kind of grass got planted to grow in the cooler months.  My first fall in the Northwest was when I was 18 and had moved here for college.  I remember driving and walking on the sidewalks just overwhelmed by the beauty of all the colors of the leaves. It was as if my childhood dream of jumping on piles of leaves (like I'd seen on cartoons) was finally coming true! Each year, I love this season more and more, well, maybe not the leaf-raking part, but all other aspects I suppose.

My approach to life is a pretty simplified one.  When it comes to decorating, I like to focus on a few areas and sort of "sprinkle" a little fall into our home. Biggest reason you might ask?  Clean up--I hate the cleanup. Too many knick knacks make dusting hard--not that I really dust all that often--but if I were to do more dusting, it would definitely get in the way.  Also, the big cleanup at the end of that particular season.  Too much stuff means I cannot conquer it in one nap time, and as most mothers know, projects are measured in "nap time" units.  Like, cleaning my baseboards will take me "3 nap time units" which mean I will instantly deem in unnecessary.  I'd much rather watch an episode Jill & Jessa: Counting On because that is only "1 nap time unit" and, well, is much more enjoyable. All that to say, if decorating takes me much more than 2 nap time units to put up, and 2 units to take down, it's not gonna happen.

So, here is my Farmhouse Fall Home Tour.  I must confess that I really, really need to learn to use our camera.  I'm terrible at it, and thus resort to my phone.  My promise to you--I will learn in the next month!

Want to know a funny thing?  This mantle is way different than I usually do for fall.  These pictures were on a wall that just got painted, and I put them up here for safe keeping while I painted.  Then I realized I loved seeing pictures up there.  My hubs is not a fan.  He thinks it looks cluttered.  I might be in a bit of a stubborn phase right now, and fear if I take them down, they won't make it back up, so I decorated "around" it all!  The only "fall touch" I put up here are some of our hops.  They look beautiful as fresh cuts, and even more beautiful as they dry out.

This is in our kitchen where our fish "Spaghetti" usually resides.  Well, he is no longer, so I'm using it for a spot to show off this beautiful plate from Home Goods.  It was my only fall purchase last year.

Our dining room hutch.  The birds, the lamp, and the book were all my late grandma's, who also loved to decorate.  Something I realized I picked up from here was using "found" objects in everyday decor.  I remember her collecting pods from her trees and pine cones while camping to decorate for the different seasons. As a kid, I thought it was weird, especially when she'd pull the car over to get a few "cuts" of something.  Well, I've become her.  My mom does the same, so perhaps, its genetic.  

My "tablescape" is not really complete, but I'll give ya an update when it is.  I need to go to the market sans kiddos so I can really take my time and pick out my perfect pumpkins for here, but we all know how that goes!  For now, here is my unironed runner (sorry, Mom! I'll get to it one of these days!),  more hope (big surprise), and candles.  I really love candles, did I mention that before?

This guy is my purchase for this year, from Home Goods, of course!  She's made of leaves and is just the coolest.  

It's kind of hard to get the angles right to show you this area, but I promise, it's prettier in person!  Remember, I am camera challenged right now.  

Some fresh maple leaf cuts from our yard, and of course, a sprinkling of hops.  

And last, but not least, the changing colors of our hydrangeas.  

Hope you enjoyed my little tour, and thanks for stopping by!  


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Remodel in Full Swing

Right now, I'm feeling a bit like a kid at Christmas. Our first remodeled bathroom is starting to take shape, and our flooring is almost completely finished. After all the planning/dreaming/imagining, we are starting to see some progress. So far, I have learned a lot about remodeling.  First thing is staying on budget is extremely hard, especially in an older home.  There are bound to be obstacles "lurking" behind the walls, under the flooring, and in your plumbing just waiting to be discovered and give you sleepless nights.  Second, if at all possible, be on site throughout, or at least in the beginning of the day.  Communication between the contractor and myself has been difficult  on days that I work because grabbing a cell phone call when you are mid-endoscopy procedure isn't exactly Kosher. Third, make sure to ask about permits and like before the contractor give you a bid, that way, there aren't any "surprises" later.  I'm sure all have some more pointers soon! 

So, here is a little sneak peak of the flooring, that is somewhat finished in our laundry room.  Ignore the mess--our home is full of dust, debris, and clutter right now. What's a girl to do?!

Notice the laundry going? I've been without this guy for over a week! Feel like I'll never catch up, but how can I complain when I've got these pretty floors to walk on now! There will be a pocket door added here to make this room WAY more functional.  In case you are wondering what type of flooring this is, it is Pewter Travertine from Contempo Tile.  The gals I worked with here were super helpful and let me make a complete mess of all of their displays so I could see my vision play out. Another perk of this place--they had a kids' play room which allowed me to focus on the tile, and have happy kiddos to boot.  Score.  

Since our garage is currently a storage spot for the construction stuff, I've had to wait on fall decorating.  Oh, and I broke the string that gets me into our attic for said decor, so I'll have to wait for the hubs to fix it for me.  Since I'm antsy, and can't wait for him to fix it, I decided to bring a little of the current Idaho "fall" into our home.  Just a few clipping of our trees, remaining blooms, and hops, and I instantly had a little fall effect.

Hope you've enjoyed a little update of The Gray Abode for now.  Have a great day!


Friday, September 2, 2016

Farmhouse Inspired Screen Door Makeover

Almost the minute we moved into our home 2 years ago, the screen door on our front door got some "love" from one of our boys.  Fast forward a few months (now the youngest was walking) and it quickly was getting double the "love" from both of our boys.  Before we knew it, the screen door was breaking as fast as we could fix it.  Here we are 2 years later, with an ever-growing upkeep list with our home, and we needed to address it. To buy a new and well-made one was going to have a hefty price tag, so we began to think.  And by we, this time, the true credit as goes to my hubs.  He said, "what if we made the bottom part solid?" Light bulbs went off in my head.  I remembered countless farmhouse style front doors that had this "X" on the bottom half, and I knew I just needed to find a picture of a screen door so my sweet Daddio could help me figure it out.

So, here is the picture I sent him.  My poor dad probably loathes Pinterest between my mom, sister and me! I wanted the bottom, however, to be completely solid, and thus boy-proof.

Here is the screen before. The picture was taken after one of several repairs to the screen where it had been pushed out by tiny humans.

And here is the after.  Whatcha think?! Not bad for a less than $15 fix!

Hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing and safe Labor Day Weekend!


Monday, August 22, 2016

An Unstaged Backyard Summer Tour

Well, I'm a little late on the bandwagon, but I had some "nap time" on my hand today, and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to show you all why we moved to our farmhouse-style home.  To give you a little background, we found this house purely by luck.  We were looking a house on a different street, stumbled on this open house on another street, and found a spectacular view we knew nothing about despite being long-time residents on this side of town.

After much debate and number crunching, we could not get this view out of our minds.  The rest is history.  The home came already landscaped, which was a total plus.  One downside is there is A LOT of gardening to be done at certain times during the year.  Do I mind? Absolutely not!   Believe it or not, I find yard work kind of soothing and rewarding. Since spring, I've gotten to enjoy all sorts of blooms from gerber daisies, lavender, peonies, roses and hydrangeas.

So, I'll get started.  I should mention that I didn't do any staging for these pictures, so forgive me for the random Doritos, towels, toys, etc. that might be hanging around in the photos.  I'm all about real life, and embracing a little bit of the mess!

This is around our fire pit.  We have wanted to get some new patio furniture for quite some time, however, greater needs have come up.  Instead, we settled for a little furniture facelift.  My sweet dad painted the furniture for me, and I found some Target chair cushions that fit.  Sometimes, a fresh coat of paint and some new pillows makes it fell brand new! The pretty lantern was also a sweet Target find.  This pot has a combination of purple fountain grass (one of my favorites) with sweet potato vine and a little variegated geranium.

Another view from behind the fire pit area.

Here is an entrance to our dining room.  Cool thing about these pots?  Everything in them is perennial, which means I don't have to re-pot each year.  Score!  If only I could keep little fingers from breaking the delphinium down...

One of our hydrangea bushes.  If it were up to me, I would have like fifteen more of these in our backyard.  They are a real beauty both on the plant and in an arrangement.

Different view of the fire pit.

One of my favorite spots.  My hubs and I like to sit out here in the evening with a glass of wine and check out all of the deer and wildlife in the pasture and preserve below.  Have you ever seen deer around a sprinkler?  Might be one of the funniest things ever, all enjoyed from our backyard. Earlier in the summer, each side of these chairs is adorned with shasta daisies, but they got a good ol' hacking by the master gardener herself.

Here my first attempt at a vegetable garden.  Truly, I threw it together during a nap time without too much thought. Next year, I'll have a better idea of what works, but go figure, potatoes were one of our best producers! This is sort of the after math, but despite being a trial run, I'm totally hooked!

So, we drink beer, but we don't brew it, so these guys sort of go to waste.  But, they do look fabulous on our mantle in the fall!

Here is our sea of lavender.  Truly, it looks like a sea when a gentle breeze rolls through. It is really stunning, bees and all!

Here are some concord grapes that grow over our shed.  Maybe someday I'll have a use for them.  I'm open for suggestions!

A little path to the front of our house. 

Here is our patio with a little table-top makeover my dad made for me.  It's a wood top on a metal lattice-type table.  That's my sweet girl, Abby.  Her and I hold this fort down.

In case you couldn't tell already, I really like this lantern.

This is the side of our house that was originally a bunch of garden boxes.  It was a good idea, except in a ton of shade, so we gave them away.  Now, we have the "play structure".  We debated long and hard about this, and if we should purchase it, and I can say I'm now sold.  I love them playing outside instead of watching as much TV as we were.  That TV can be a trap for us all, and this had definitely been a good distraction!

This may not look like much now, but I have BIG plans for her so stay tuned.  Think momma's little paradise!

Hope you've enjoyed this tour!


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Every once in a while, I find a recipe worth raving about, but it has to be two things: super easy and super delicious. To let you in on a secret, I attempted to be a "cook" (probably some time in junior high when stuff gets all sorts of weird) by making spaghetti noodles and topping it with olive oil and basil from a plant at my grandma's house. This was my first and last attempt of creating a "recipe" on my own.  It was literally boiled noodles with olive oil and basil.  My sister has never let me forget about this "basil pasta" that I tried to create, as well as some other strange things I did as a kid.  So now that you know my secret, you will know I am no chef, and I will probably never post a recipe that I've created on my own, so fully expect me to give you a nice little link to where I got the goodness.

Not sure if this happens everywhere, but at the end of summer, everyone is giving squash away around these parts.  I kid you not, I've had someone bring a squash to give away at work that was bigger than a newborn.  I love squash, but was looking for something to jazz it up, so that even my hubs would like it.  Smitten Kitchen had a recipe that seemed like it would work. Sorry, I did not take pictures of my beautiful creation, but I did snap a few of the leftovers because I just felt compelled to share this great recipe (and great use of surplus squash).

Here it is, folks.  Smitten Kitchen's Summer Squash Pizza. Pointers, you might ask?

  • I didn't use the recipe for the dough--I simply stopped at Trader Joe's and got a ready-made batch for less than $1.50.  Simple is what I do, and I'm really not lying about that! 
  • Make sure you allow the shredded squash to rest for at least 20 minutes because a whole-lotta water comes out and needs to be drained/squished out. 
  • I added more salt on top of the mixture because I felt I really squeezed the bejesus out of my squash, and might have lost some during this squeeze fest.  I also added some fresh ground pepper and crushed red pepper, because it just seemed like a good idea.

I also made a 5 minute marinara with a recipe that fit what I had on hand.  It also turned out pretty great too. One minor adjustment I made--hat might work out well for you, too--is substituting 1 T (a heaping one) of dried onion flakes for the onion part of the recipe. This was only because I was using pantry staples, otherwise, an onion would have been great!  Literally, this sauce was a can of tomato sauce and like 5 little herbs that even I had on hand.  This guy was called "Awesomely Easy Marinara Sauce", and I can confirm it was awesomely easy indeed.

Yikes, look at that dirty stovetop!  Truthfully, this guy gets cleaned about once a week.  It just seems silly to me to clean it every single night, at this point in my life, when I could be having some precious snuggles on the couch before bedtime.   Maybe some day I will have ultra-clean bloody-worthy photos, but for now, I'm being real, and showing you the dirty!

So if you find yourself in the predicament of squash overload, give this recipe a try. Super tasty, super easy. Your tummy will thank me.

Have a great weekend!