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2018-04-25T20:17:58.109Z
0
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I should warn you that most of the pictures (and the video!) in the post don’t really scream “rebuilding” (it’s more like “WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT HOUSE?!) but there has actually been a ton of progress at the duplex. So we thought we’d update you guys on the flurry of activity that has occurred over the past few weeks, along with some floor plan changes and some of the curveballs we’ve already been thrown.

We talked on this week’s podcast about why the duplex is giving off that bare bones vibe right about now. The short answer is: when you have to rebuild the inside of a house (because it’s full of rot, mold, termite damage, and some failing framing) and you have to rebuild the outside of the house (to make the old rotting siding and roofing actually do their jobs), this is what you’re left with:

All this demo also makes it easier and cheaper to install completely updated and safe systems – like all new electrical, plumbing, and HVAC when the time comes. So yes, it feels like a ridiculously dramatic process to witness, but at any given time you can drive by at least one of these major restorations going on in...

Can we go a whole month without buying anything we don’t need? That’s the challenge we’ve handed ourselves as part of a self-imposed month-long shopping ban. So this week we’re sharing how we were inspired by Cait Flanders’ “Year of Less” and how we’re adapting her rules for our own lives. Plus, the duplex renovation is (finally!) racing along and we’re answering some of your top questions about it. Also, how filming our April Fool’s video was even more embarrassing than it looked… and why a makeover show is giving Sherry hope that it might actually heal the world.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Then use this page to check out any links, notes, or photos we referenced. Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you might have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

  • In case you missed her on Instagram and Facebook, that skeleton of a house above is the duplex in its completely gutted state. No walls, no roof, and quite a far cry from what it looked like when we first...

Since our daughter started elementary school a few years ago, spring break has become an increasingly precious opportunity to get away, clock some quality family time, and soak in some long-overdue warm weather. Last year’s spring break vacation to Cape Canaveral, Florida checked all of the right boxes and we were tempted to just repeat that trip again this year. But we pushed ourselves to see if we could make this year’s getaway even better and explore a new part of Florida while we were at it – and we are SO GLAD WE DID. So for anyone else looking for a great family vacation spot or, like us, if you’re just ready to start dreaming about next year’s spring break – here’s a quick recap of our family’s trip to South Florida.

Where We Went

Our #1 priority for the trip was “guaranteed beach weather,” and going to South Florida was the most convenient destination that could guarantee us hot temperatures in early April. We love a good road trip, but we wasted four days driving to Florida and back last year… so we decided to give flying a go this year (a first for us with both kids + the dog). A couple of airlines fly direct to Fort Lauderdale from our airport here in...

Do you reject certain “household staples?” We do! And it turns out a lot of other people do too – to the point that experts are saying they might someday disappear. So this week we’re breaking down how and why the typical home (and its contents) might be changing, along with revealing what modern comforts we’ve deemed unnecessary in our house (one of them is weird, I’m warning you). We’re also sharing how we found the best spring break home we’ve ever rented, and how we navigated the stresses of flying with children, car seats, a dog, his crate – essentially ALL THE THINGS. Oh, and it turns out we’re storing lots of stuff in our garage that we probably shouldn’t be.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Then use this page to check out any links, notes, or photos we referenced. Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you might have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

  • Here’s the HomeAway listing for the Spring Break rental we got in Pompano Beach, Florida (just north of Fort Lauderdale). It’s not a...

How should I stage my house to sell? Should I take down all of my family photos? I’m not selling but I want my house to look good for company- give me some tips! Do I need to add a lot of decorative accessories? Or, wait am I supposed to be taking things away and decluttering?! 

These sentences (and about 642 more) have all been slung at me every time I mentioned that I’ve been working on the side as a home stager for a local realtor for over a year. If you haven’t heard about that you can catch up – and get a few bonus stories and tips – by listening to podcast Episode #53Episode 41, and Episode 88. But in this extra-beefy post (gah, it’s almost 5,000 words!) I’ll cover why I love staging, my favorite money-saving tricks, and I’ll share some before & afters of a few of the homes I’ve helped get ready for sale. Can you tell I love this topic?

Why Stage A House?

To me, the goal of staging is to leave each room feeling as open, light-filled, and welcoming as possible. Unlike everyday decorating, you’re not trying to show off your style or the decor – you’re trying to show off the actual house itself. So you never want to overfill a space and detract from features like hardwood floors, large windows, light filled nooks, built-in storage, or any of the other things that come with the house. Got a room...

This week we’re talking about when you should undo a personal change that you made to your house that might turn off potential buyers (and when we’d recommend leaving it the heck alone). We’re also getting into store returns and how they’re changing, because the ability to return decor items that don’t turn out the way you hoped is a great safeguard… but did you know that some stores may be cracking down on that practice? Here’s what we learned about the policing of returns that’s going on behind the scenes, and what a DIYer can do to avoid getting their account flagged. We’re also recapping our trip to a blogging conference in Austin, I have an a-ha moment regarding something you sleep on, and Sherry gets a personal call from a celebrity that kinda makes her year. 

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Then use this page to check out any links, notes, or photos we referenced. Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you might have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

Since spring is finally here, we can’t help but feel like summer is right around the corner. This will be our first legit summer using our beach house (last year we were still tiling all three bathrooms well into Labor Day) and our goal is to spend lots of time there, both to whittle down our to-do list and TO ACTUALLY ENJOY THE BEACH.

But in all the work we’ve been doing to prepare the house for our first summer, we realized we’ve been neglecting to prepare something else: ourselves!

All of the fast food we’ve been eating on our drives there and back have only been made worse by the workouts we’ve missed over and over due to being out of town or just simply being too worn out from house projects. So in these last couple of months before Memorial Day, we’re recommitting ourselves to getting into better shape for summer. And we’re inviting you guys to come along with us in a new series we’re dubbing: Beach House Body.

We’re not fitness experts (and certainly not fitness models) but isn’t that part of the fun? Who wants to watch bodybuilders and athletes with perfect form when you can watch regular people who sometimes hold the barbell wrong? It’s approachable fitness at its finest. We’ll be releasing a short video each Saturday leading up to summer with some...

At least five times a day Sherry gets asked: “What are those LED bulbs that John loves?” Sometimes it seems even more popular than the ever-present “where you’d get that thing in your house?” question (all answers are here, btw) or “what are those short girl jeans Sherry wears constantly?” (they’re these). Because as anyone who has listened to our podcast knows, I am, shall we say, particular about my light bulbs. And as we switched over our entire house to LED bulbs over the last few years, it has sent me down the wormhole of finding my favorite bulbs (and avoiding the ones that make my eyes extremely angry). Since one big pro of LEDs is that you won’t have to replace them for years – maybe even decades (many of them say 30+ years on the packaging) – I wanted to make sure I got it right.

And although we’ve spoken about them SEVERAL times on the podcast (did I mention I’m obsessive?) it’s not much help to all the people who regularly inquire about not being able to find “that blog post with our favorite light bulbs” (I even got a text like this from my own mom) because, well, that blog post doesn’t exist. Until now!

“Buying Bulbs Used To Be So Easy“

That’s a direct quote from my mom when she...

We all know that deflated feeling when you’ve lost your mojo for a major project or renovation. So how do you reignite that excitement or energy you had for it in the first place? We’ve struggled with this at the beach house lately, so we’re sharing five tips for combating project fatigue. Plus spring is a big time for home maintenance, so we have an easy way to guarantee that you’ll never forget about routine tasks again – plus a new trick for barreling through those other little lingering projects our your to-do list. We also share how we rediscovered a date night idea, and why we’re getting called out for fueling a despised decorating trend.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Then use this page to check out any links, notes, or photos we referenced. Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you might have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

If you saw our before & after post about the beach duplex demo, then you know we’ve got some big plans for the duplex’s floor plan. We want to make the most of the given space – and we’re even adding on a smidge more – so it can sleep more people, offer more bathrooms, and generally improve the feeling of being in this cool old house. Before each side had only one full bath (!!!), so we’re hopeful that we have nowhere to go but up. So we’re back today with some floor plans to show you exactly what we intend to do. And the nerd inside of me is extremely excited about it.

If you’re new around here or aren’t sure what we mean by “the duplex,” you can catch up on everything in detail here. But the short version is that it’s a rundown duplex that we bought last fall to renovate and turn into a weekly vacation rental. It’s just one house away from our pink beach house in Cape Charles, VA, which is located on the Chesapeake Bay of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. So far it has just been gutted and once the weather starts cooperating, we’ll finally get to start rolling on exterior improvements like a new non-leaking roof and some new not-rotten siding.

Could you put your wallet on lockdown for 365 days? Sherry shared the story of a woman who did, including why she took on the challenge, the few exceptions she allowed to make it possible, and how it’s inspiring us to adjust our spending… and maybe even try out a ban of our own. Plus, how much should you involve your kids in the design of their rooms? We share some tips and tactics for keeping everyone happy in the process, so the result is a room that they love (and that you also like to be in with them). Plus, the paint colors that will help your home sell for more money (some of them surprised us!) and a DNA test that led to a humbling personal discovery.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Then use this page to check out any links, notes, or photos we referenced. Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you might have to click through to the post to see the player. 

What’s New

Although we’ve been sharing lots of little peeks of our beach house progress on social media, John and I realized it has been nearly THREE WHOLE MONTHS since we gave you a full tour of everything (since this video tour from back in December!). And not only have there been some big projects since then, like building in a pantry and constructing the bunk beds, there have also been a flurry of smaller updates that we haven’t posted about at all – some that we completed as recently as this past weekend. And thus, this post was born.

similar chandeliers / dining chairs (ours are “gray”) / marble “vase” / range hood / glass pendants

As usual, I’ll kick off the post with the video tour because it’s the easiest way to get the full update on everything (if you scroll past it and check out the pics, you’ll get a general gist… but no amount of photos + words can compare to a moving video through a space – and I dive into a lot of bonus stuff in the video just because I like to flap my gums). Oh but we realized afterward that, most likely due to my aforementioned...

Doorless bathrooms? Toilets behind glass walls? Showers and tubs just sitting in the corner of the bedroom? These “open concept” bathroom trends seem to be showing up more often, and they’re alarming to some and exciting to others. So this week we attempt to understand what sparked this growing trend, and we explain where we land on the bathroom privacy spectrum. Also, Sherry concocts a new date night idea for DIY enthusiasts and I recap how a few months off of social media has affected me (for better and for worse). Plus, how our very own half-bathroom installation went terribly, terribly wrong.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Then use this page to check out any links, notes, or photos we referenced. Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you might have to click through to the post to see the player. 

What’s New
  • Here’s a sneak peek of the house Sherry mentioned staging in this episode (the one where we all got together with more of an evening approach). After we recorded this episode it went up for sale and sold within 12 hours!

  • Sherry also...

With most of our functional building projects done at the beach house done – like the walk in pantry and the freshly constructed bunk beds (remember when we almost had to tear those down right after we built them?) – we’re starting to turn our attention to some of the big aesthetic projects that are still on our list. This means you kitchen backsplash!

sconces / hood / stools / hardware / shelves / pendant lights / faucet

That photo above is a few weeks old (before we swapped out the mini fridge for more counter space) but it’s an important picture because it’s what Sherry and I have been using to imagine what the room’s future backsplash should look like. For reference, the far end of the kitchen is looking a bit more like this now (although even this is outdated because we added the cabinet hardware last week, but ran out of time to take an updated photo).

counters / cabinets /

It’s never fun to get a call saying that you have to tear down something that you just SPENT AN ENTIRE WEEKEND CONSTRUCTING, but that’s exactly what happened with our beach house bunk beds. So this week we’re sharing what went down behind the scenes, and what we did to get around it. Plus, we’re talking to Matt Paxton who’s one of the extreme cleaning experts from the A&E show Hoarders, and he sheds a ton of light on why people hoard, how you can help someone who does, and what tricks he has picked up for keeping his own home in order. Sherry’s also diving deeper into the woo-woo waters, I’m loving a certain non-power tool, and our whole family is cracking up over a recent game-related discovery. 

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Then use this page to check out any links, notes, or photos we referenced. Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you might have to click through to the post to see the player. 

What’s New

  • That’s not the new window in the photo above (although the new window looks...

We finally got there guys – and not without a few notable setbacks. But that might be why it feels extra good to finally say: the duplex is officially demo’d! And today we’re going to show you around (in photos and even on video) and share some of our plans for this beast.

We learned from doing the pink house that when a house has this much moisture damage, it’s best to take all of the walls down so there’s no mystery about what kind of mold/decay/structural issues are lurking back there. And considering the duplex already had several troubling spots that were blatantly obvious before demo (see the black mold spots on that side wall and that ceiling caving in from moisture damage?), we knew a full gut job was the prudent first step here. Spoiler: we also found lots of bad framing, bad wiring, bad plumbing, and even a few squirrels nests within the walls and even the HVAC system itself, which was an especially nutty discovery. Get it? Squirrels? Nuts? I’ll pause for laughter.

The photo above is the living room on the LEFT side of the duplex (you can see more before photos in

We’re getting personal this week, and sharing some early setbacks and hard choices that almost steered our lives in a totally different direction – no houses, no blog, even no marriage! We also dive into how some failed attempts at making over a certain area of our home led to us giving up and calling in the pros. Plus, an easy way to up your drawer organization game, and a tool that makes nearly every project easier.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Then use this page to check out any links, notes, or photos we referenced. Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you might have to click through to the post to see the player. 

What’s New

  • I wish we had prettier photos of the backyard, but these quick shots that we took in the fall are the best we’ll have until things green up in the next month or two. But above you can see our ornamental “sticks” (that one in the front is a ginkgo and the one that’s closer to the shed behind it is a weeping cherry).
  • Below is a “before” of the...

The built-in bunk beds at the beach house are complete (!!) and I’m excited to share with you guys how we created them. Although, it should be noted that my excitement pales in comparison to our kids’ when they saw the much-talked-about bunks finally become a reality.

And if I’m being totally honest, I was a little nervous about this project. This was our first time building bunk beds, which felt significantly more high stakes than, say, building a bookcase or a table. This is a bed that literally FLOATS IN THE AIR so one person can sleep ON TOP OF ANOTHER PERSON (or the occasional chihuahua).

But my nerves are calmed by the fact that we’re extremely happy with how it turned out, and how extremely sturdy they are (Sherry and I have been up on the top bunk together and it’s solid as a rock). It wasn’t exactly a straight line getting to the end product, so I wanted to share the process so you can file this post next to the hundreds of others currently on Pinterest. #bunkwagon

This space is pretty unique in that...

This week I’m fessing up to a design choice that I insisted we make in our beach house kitchen, but now realize was – shall we say – misguided? Thankfully it’s not too hard to undo, so we’re explaining our change of heart, and what we’re doing to fix it. There’s also a polarizing design “trend” that we’ve been asked to weigh in on, so we’re sharing our take – and why we think it gets people so worked up (this trend literally can make people get rage-y). We’re also sharing some secrets for recreating that super cozy, uber luxurious bed you see in the pages of magazines… and why there are some bed-making tricks that are best left to the pros. Also, does Young House Love have a board game? 

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! Then use this page to check out any links, notes, or photos we referenced. Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you might have to click through to the post to see the player. 

What’s New

  • The photo above shows how close the mini fridge was to the pantry, which houses...

A few weeks ago, when we shared our son’s new “big boy room” not only were we feeling sentimental about no longer having a crib in our house, we noticed that we had some sentimental feelings for the daybed that we brought into his room. I know. Life is weird. But we realized it has been with us for over a decade – seeing us through a wedding, two births, two moves, and more than a few “style adjustments.”

Ten years may not seem like a lot in furniture years, but we’ve only been homeowners for around 11.5 years, and much of what we collected when we moved into our first house at the ripe old age of 24 were budget-friendly-but-probably-not-long-term solutions. For example: an inexpensive placeholder item that was all we could afford at the time, something that was loaned to us for a little while and later returned, or something cheap that nodidn’t hold up as time went on (we moved from NYC to Richmond in a minivan, so we didn’t exactly have a lot of furniture when we landed here in 2006).

So we thought it’d be a fun exercise to highlight 10 items that we’ve had for 10 years (or more). Not just for nostalgia’s sake, but also as a window into what things have physically held up that...