OUR NEW HOUSE!!!

If a blog post was worthy of a million exclamation points, this would be it!  We bought a house and I am SO EXCITED!!!

This home purchase has been so surreal, like, pinch my arm until it bleeds surreal.  No, we didn’t purchase an exquisite chateau or a 10K sqft home we built from scratch, we purchased a home that is perfect for our growing family of almost 3.  It’s a 2 bed 2 bath cute little ranch style home in an amazing neighborhood.  The lot is HUGE, and when the time is right we will expand the house by adding a master suite etc.  The backyard is simple, no mistakes were made from the prior owners that we’d have to fix.  Everything in this home is perfectly pleasant.

Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to change a few things here and there.  I mean, I am me for crying out loud, and some things just need to be tweaked to your liking… like the kitchen, the living room, the floors, the wall color, the window treatments, etc.  Let’s get to the pics, shall we? Warning: there’s a lot of beige.

living room

As you walk in through the front door, immediately on your right is the living room.  Super pleasant, clean, unobtrusive…  except for the carpet and beige walls, but the carpet is new and plush and the walls are skim coated and matte, just the way I like my walls :) The best part about this space is the fireplace.  We’ve never had our own fireplace, and my man LOVES fireplaces and anything that has to do with winter and cozy Christmas cheer.

dining area

DINING area

Exiting out the door by the fireplace, you enter the dining space.  The space is open and the perfect size for a 6-8 person dining table.  My only complaint is the linoleum floors, but that can be updated super easily.  Oh, and the floor vents, not used to vents in the floor but I guess they’ll do.  I tend to prefer them when they’re on the ceiling, but I’m probably just being nit-picky.

SUNROOM

A fun addition to this house is the cute little sun room attached to the dining space. The windows are attached by latch locks, which we can unlock and remove completely to make this space open and breezy.  I love the painted floor! It just needs to be in a different color…

KITCHEN

Walking back through the dining space, you enter the kitchen.  Thank goodness the previous owners painted the cabinets white, it definitely helps make this narrow space feel bigger than it is.  The short counter on the right is kind of odd.  We have plans to open up and restructure the kitchen… budget permitting of course.

BATHROOM

Down the hall from the kitchen, you reach the main bathroom.  It’s the only room in the entire house painted white, and it feels like a retreat every time I enter this room! The shower, counter, and hardware are all dated, but the tiled floor is brand new and I actually like it just fine.  If I were to make any changes it would be to upgrade the shower and the counter/sink area, although we’re in no rush to make any changes in here.

NURSERY

At the end of the hall is the nursery.  Actually, both bedrooms are almost identical in size and shape, so these pictures might look like the same room.  We chose the room that faces the back of the house for the nursery, and the front room for the master.

MASTER

I usually don’t care for ceiling fans, but boy, I’ve never had one to call my own and I have to say I’m actually loving it! We technically live in a micro-climate in the East Bay behind the Berkeley hills, it gets super hot and I’m starting to see the value of a ceiling fan now that we have one in our bedroom, especially compared to the cost of air conditioning.  I would love to replace it with this beauty some day, until then I’ll just embrace it’s current ugliness for the satisfaction it provides me.

master closetBoth closets, in the nursery and in the master, look like this.  Standard bi-fold doors, nothing terrible.  I’m just so happy they aren’t mirrored dual sliders, I can’t stand sliding doors, I want to see my WHOLE closet please! Thicken up that molding and replace the hardware with something deco & brass and these doors will sing.

So there ya go! The quick tour of our new home! I’m putting together a list of tweaks and changes we’d like to make over the course of time so I’ll share that soon.  Some changes will definitely be dependent on budget, others will be quick and easy, like paint! Most importantly, I’m just so happy to have a place to put our baby.  I was really worried there for a minute…

LoveB

Friday I’m in Love {My Favorite Things!}

 

friday favorites | brittanyMakes

 // ONE I’ve got a steamy typography art crush, who’s with me? // TWO With a new house on the horizon (ie, today!) I’m considering about a few options for display cabinets, because displaying things behind glass means we’re officially grown-ups // THREE I’m thrilled to be on the dining table hunt again since we sold our dining table right before moving out of our loft last fall.  It’s crazy how tastes evolve, this time I want to find a simple and minimalistic table then pair it with some fun chairs. I’m crazy in love with these kiwi velvet dining chairs! They’re seriously the most fun pop of color ever! // FOUR Something about this gorgeous desert mosaic rug has me gaga over it, must be the perfect mix of greens & blues! // FIVE I’ve been contemplating ways to add natural textures to our bedroom, and I think this seagrass bench placed at the foot of our bed would be lovely, or maybe in our new entryway… I can’t decide.

OMG we get our keys today!!!! I cannot WAIT to move in, build our crib and paint walls white! I think I just got my groove back :P

LoveB

A wedding & big news!

I’ve been holding out on you… we have some big news to share! We’re buying a house!!!

sale pending

We weren’t intending to buy a house.  We moved out of our loft early last fall to save every penny before our baby arrives.  We began apartment hunting late January but couldn’t find anything that fit our needs.  I’m not even sure how it happened, one day we just ended up checking out what we could afford as a mortgage in our price range and were surprised we could potentially make it happen, considering we live in the SF Bay Area is statement enough on how expensive it is to live here.

Our home buying process has been the most stressful thing EVER, which I think I’ll devote entirely to another post.  I have been overwhelmingly consumed with this house hunt, I’m sure you’ve noticed the lack of content on this ol’ blog here.  It’s OK though, I’m going to have so much content with our house as my muse I won’t know what to do with myself :)  I must say, this has been the craziest year ever!  First, we got married, then, we’re expecting a baby boy, and now? We’re buying a house! You’d think we aren’t easily satisfied people lol.

So, what else is new? Well, my little sister got married this past weekend.  I had the pleasure of being her photographer, which was so much fun.  I rented this lens, which is the most amazing lens I’ve ever laid hands on. I’ve been having so much fun photographing humans lately! Seriously though, how darling this young couple ?

wedding photography | brittanyMakes

and a super cute close-up of the hair nuzzling, naturally…

wedding photography | brittanyMakes

I think the last thing I owe you is a belly bump update… I must say I prefer hiding behind the lens in my preggo state, but here you go…

#34weeks

#34weeks and counting!

LoveB

Friday I’m in Love {My Favorite Things!}

 

Friday Faves! // brittanyMakes// ONE Oh my, this gorgeous pillow! // TWO I’ve always loved the minimalistic look of the Parsons design, and if you’re looking for a simple bookcase this is the one to buy! It’s significantly more affordable than the popular West Elm edition.// THREE I have a hardcore chair obsession, and Ikea isn’t helping my recovery at all with this wishbone beauty.  I’ll soon be in the market for some dining chairs, and the Trendig is a mighty contender // FOUR angular & dip-dyed? This rosy pentagon dipped side table is everything!!! // FIVE It’s far from being my birthday, but that wouldn’t stop me from hoarding this set of gold metallic birthday candles.

I hope everyone has a fantastic spring filled weekend! My younger sister is getting married tomorrow, I can’t believe it!  I’ll be posting on Instagram tomorrow, so follow along if you want to see the action.

LoveB

The Scary Story

I have a scary story to share.  I meant to share it 2 weeks ago (sorry!) but so much has happened since and I felt I should share all of the information I’ve gathered in case (heaven forbid) the same thing ever happens to you.

OK. Let me just rip the band-aid and tell you – my identity was stolen.

fraud

via

It really sounds SO silly saying it out loud.  It’s something I never thought would ever happen to me, I mean come on! I’m a type-A businesswoman for crying out loud! I watch my credit like a hawk! I’m super careful when shopping online and I only share my personal information when it’s absolutely necessary.  How could this ever happen to me?

Like many, I was one of those who shopped at Target during their breech period late last year (I mean, who didn’t shop at Target during that period??).  You might think this situation was because of Target, but in reality I only used my debit card and my bank swiftly sent me a replacement since they’re on top of that kind of stuff.  Also, I knew it wasn’t Target’s fault because it was my social security number that was stolen.  My SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER! How? Why? HOW?!

Anyway, I bring up Target because if it weren’t for them I might be oblivious at this moment that my identity was stolen.  Target signed me up for free credit monitoring as part of their diligent apology for the breech.  I couldn’t be more grateful for this!

You’re probably wondering, how did I find out? Well, it was a normal Wednesday morning when I received the first alert via email from Target’s credit monitoring service “Surveillance Alert!”.  Hmmm, that’s weird.  So I logged in to check it out… and my mouth dropped.  There were 5 (FIVE!) new inquiries on my credit for 5 retail credit cards that were opened within the last 4 business days. This is bad.

If you’re at all familiar with the credit bureau setup, there are three agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.  Your credit reports from these three agencies can vary, for example information will hit one report faster than another, inquiries will post to one agency and not to another, your credit score will be different across these three reports for this exact reason.  Most credit monitoring services are linked to only one of the agencies, so as soon as I saw that I had these 5 inquiries on one report, I knew there was a huge possibility of more posting to my other reports.  Down the rabbit hole I went…

I ran my other two credit reports & scores, paid the fees to do so (the fees are super dumb but in this case I would pay anything to stop someone from stealing my identity!).  Between the 3 credit reports, I found a total of 11 (!!!) retail accounts attempted to be opened in my name.  I was flabbergasted.  Someone has my social security number, someone is opening retail credit cards in my name and maxing them out.  Someone is ruining my credit as we speak.  I felt utterly powerless!

Of course I wanted to cry and throw things, but really the only thing I could do was contact each retailer and put a stop to these accounts.  I spent the next 8 hours calling retailers, filing a police report, filing a complaint with the FTC, and opening fraud investigations with each retailer.  The amount of work I’ve had to do to clean this up was ridiculous, not to mention I’m still working on these accounts, 2+ weeks later!  I do have to look on the bright side and be thankful that each retailer has a fraud department, and that each retailer provided as much guidance and help possible to fix this situation.  I can’t imagine having this happen 10 or so years ago when this crime was really started taking place.  The crappy part about all of this is this person will most likely not get caught, and will continue to live their lives by ruining others.  I’m lucky to be as diligent as I am in monitoring my credit, and being as responsible to react so quickly.

After telling friends and coworkers about this situation I began hearing their stories like “oh someone took out a mortgage in my name” or “someone tried to cross the boarder with my identity”.  What if I was less diligent? What if I never checked my credit reports? What if I wanted to buy a house and got turned down because I didn’t know someone had ruined my credit by stealing my identity? What if one day I got calls from collection agencies saying I owed over $15K in credit card debt that I never even knew about?! $15K is about as much as this person who stole my identity was granted in credit from using my identity.  I can’t even imagine.

Moral of the story: check your credit regularly.  By law everyone is entitled to 3 free credit reports each year (www.annualcreditreport.com).  Put reminders on your calendar, run these reports every 4 months and make sure no one is living their lives at your expense.  This can happen to anyone.  If it happened to me, it can happen to you.

*Update* I’ve been asked if this affects my credit score.  Absolutely it does, which is the WORST part of this mess!  Until these fraud investigations close and the credit bureau blocks additional information from hitting my credit, each one of these hard inquiries and balances will negatively affect my credit score.  Every inquiry that is reported to your score (like a credit application or credit check), regardless if an account is actually opened, drops your score.  I’ve been told it will take on average 90 days for each account to be resolved.  Let’s hope it happens sooner!

LoveB

Royal Design Studio winner!

You thought I forgot didn’t you? Well, I didn’t! So many random things are going on at once over here, one is super duper exciting and I can’t wait to share.  I don’t want to jinx it just yet but once everything is locked down you’ll be the first to know!

Any who, so which one of you won the stencil giveaway?

winner screenshot

 

Becky! Check your email pretty lady, you’ll be receiving your prize soon if you haven’t yet already :)

Thank you everyone who entered the giveaway!

LoveB

Friday I’m in Love {My Favorite Things!}

 

Friday Faves // brittanyMakes

// ONE I generally dislike ceiling fans, that is until I saw this one! Boy, all that brass has me wishing I had a home to put it in // TWO The Dexter bench is BACK! I couldn’t be more excited, I tried to get this bench when it was in the catalogue 2 years ago, but missed it! Now I just need to do some ‘persuading of the husband’ // THREE this pillow is the perfect mix of chinoiserie and toile, how could you not want this pillow layered on your sofa? // FOUR I love the shape and color of this new club chair from Ikea! I would ax the standard legs and replace with these custom Ikea legs to modernize the piece // FIVE Kiwi is the new mint! Don’t you love this nail head end table?

I know, I know, I promised a scary story this week.  It is coming! There were a lot of details to resolve this week, which just means more to share, right??

Have a great weekend!

PS: today is the last day to enter the Royal Design Studio stencil giveaway. Don’t miss it!

LoveB

Flower Workshop: Spring Fever

Amanda the flower whisperer is back with a Spring installment of her flower workshop!  Over-sized arrangements are on our minds now that trees are in bloom… at least here in Cali!

the flower workshop with @adkluu

My love of food and seasonal cooking has always kept me in tune with the seasons, but it wasn’t until I started working with flowers that I noticed the tiny moments tucked into a season. One week, the flower mart is flooded with hellebores. The next week, they’re nowhere to be found—but now I’m distracted by the long, lithe limbs of Lady Banks rose. The season unfolds before me in this fashion, each week bringing some new rare delight.

To properly ring in Spring, Brittany and I are showing you how to make this large scale sherbet arrangement featuring our favorite seasonal flowers — ranunculus and dogwood, oh so good!

Why so large?

To showcase the lovely dogwood branches and graceful lines of blooming spirea, we needed an urn that was substantial enough. A good rule of thumb — the total height of your arrangement should be 1.5 to 2 times the height of the vase. That keeps things feeling balanced, and not too top heavy which is often the case with garden-style arrangements.

So…where can I put it?

Though lovely, an arrangement this large would make polite dinner conversation difficult. Arrangements of this scale are better suited for entryways, bars, and low dressers. If you’re planning a wedding, this size would be great for your welcome, gift, or escort tables!

How is this different from building a smaller tabletop arrangement?

For one, you’ll use more ingredients to build a stronger foundation for the flowers. With the branches and greens, you’ll want to create a sturdy grid within the urn by weaving the stems into each other. Give the vase a little shake — if the stems stay in place, you’re ready to add flowers.

Be mindful of the length of your flower stems — these ranunculus and poppies had fairly long stems, so they worked well in this arrangement. Make sure that each stem is in water, preferably by a few inches. When you work branches into an arrangement, there’s no telling how fast or how much they’ll drink. In the time it took me to write this, the arrangement drank 2 inches of water from the top!

Use bigger flowers, or cluster smaller blooms for the same effect. In this arrangement, I wanted to echo the frothiness of the spirea and dogwood to keep the overall look very soft. That’s why I chose to use ranunculus, poppies & sweet pea over bigger blooms.

Let’s build!

STEP1 Build the foundation and shape with dogwood branches and spirea. This part takes a bit of patience, because there’s nothing to hold the first few stems in place.

 the flower workshop with @adkluu

STEP 2 Add the larger flowers in the dominant color— in this case, I used the larger ranunculus and poppies in a soft, buttery shade. I nestled them just right of the center, as if they were growing out of the pot.

 the flower workshop with @adkluu

STEP 3 Add the flowers in an accent color. I tucked a few peachy-pink stems of ranunculus mostly to the left of the first cluster at a few different heights and depths. I included one satellite to the right to create a counter. The eye likes to travel along the vertices of a triangle, something I’m mindful of when I arrange.

 the flower workshop with @adkluu

STEP 4 Soften any edges and fill in any gaps with the sweet pea. A little bit of negative space is appreciated in a large arrangement. Someone once told me to design with enough openness that a little bird could fly through the arrangement. I see a few different routes he could take through the sherbet!

the flower workshop with @adkluu

 ******

Amanda is the best, isn’t she? I can’t wait to one day have table/entryway to call my own (soon maybe?) to showcase such a simple yet grand arrangement.  Also, I need that Tuscan vase! (vase from Pottery Barn)

the flower workshop with @adkluu

PS!!! Amanda is hosting a flower crown workshop on April 4th in Emeryville, CA at the Handcraft Studio School. I will be there! Sign up here. I mean, how bad do you want to wear a flower crown? I’ll answer for you: BAD.

flower crown // Amanda Luu

LoveB

A Campaign Dresser Makeover & Group Giveaway

 

coupons.com spring giveaway

 

 This post is sponsored by Coupons.com

Ever since we sold our coral Craigslist dresser I’ve been secretly on the hunt for a replacement.

campaign dresser makeover | brittanyMakes

Of course, a campaign dresser has always been on my wish-list, but I never in my wildest dreams thought I would find one I could afford.  One random day I was searching Craigslist for what, I can’t even remember, and ended up performing my routine searches: “wood dresser” and “old dresser”, lo and behold a 6′ campaign dresser appeared in my search results, for basically free!  I got my man’s permission and we ended up picking it up a day later.  You wouldn’t believe it, but this giant 6′ dresser completely fit in my Kia Soul! I don’t care what they say about my hamster car, this thing can carry a load.

campaign dresser makeover

Go ahead and laugh at me now, but I forgot to take a proper ‘before’ photo. #DIYerfail.

I knew I wanted to paint the dresser glossy white, but was hesitant to use a paint brush with a high gloss paint.  I’ve wanted to purchase the Critter spray gun ever since I read Jenny’s post, and had it sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for quite some time.  It was shortly after when Coupons.com reached out to me and made my spray gun dreams come true with their coupon codes!

Critter spray gun

I got working on the dresser right away.  The first thing I did was remove the stupid stump feet that someone had put on it.  Then I removed all the hardware.  Boy there was a lot of hardware!

campaign dresser makeover | brittanyMakes

I crafted a simple rectangle base out of 2″ x 4″s and wood screws.

campaign dresser makeover | brittanyMakes

Then attached the base to the dresser with L brackets.

campaign dresser makeover | brittanyMakes

The dresser had a few dings, spots with chipped and damaged veneer.  I patched these areas with wood filler and sanded smooth once dry.

campaign dresser makeover | brittanyMakes

Once the dresser was all prepped, I finally got to spraying! I didn’t take a picture of the Critter gun in action, but I will agree that this is the best and easiest to use paint sprayer ever.  I was able to get that factory finish with just a couple coats of paint.

campaign dresser makeover | brittanyMakes

 

While the paint was curing, I spent a couple hours polishing the hardware, which was a pain in the rear but completely worth it.

campaign dresser makeover | brittanyMakes

I love how the base turned out! Those stub feet completely clashed with the look and feel of the dresser. Plus, I added about 2 more inches in dresser height.

campaign dresser makeover | brittanyMakes

 

Let’s bring this post around full circle and point out my Spring trend: white & gold! My home sings Spring with a glossy coat of white paint, a gallery wall of gold mirrors and frames, all married with bright artwork and photographs of our travels.  I know my Spring trend isn’t all ‘radiant orchid’ or anything, but it’s classic and represents me.

campaign dresser makeover | brittanyMakes

I still can’t believe I scored this dresser.  Thanks to Coupons.com I was able to complete this dresser makeover in no time! I probably would have taken at least a couple more months before pulling the trigger and buying myself a paint sprayer.  I’ll probably spray paint everything from now on, and avoid using a brush as much as possible.  That smooth factory finish is like crack :P

So what about the giveaway? Well, Coupons.com teamed up with not only myself, but 14 other stellar bloggers and we’re all joining in on the giveaway! One lucky reader will win their choice of a $150 Target or West Elm gift card.  Say what?! Until now I had no idea Coupons.com offered coupons to my favorite home decor sites.  Just follow the Rafflecopter tool below and enter for your chance to win!

Check out the 14 other blogger’s projects by clicking on the links at the end of this post

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  1. Bliss At Home
  2. Cuckoo 4 Design
  3. Dimples & Tangles
  4. Dwellings by Devore
  5. A Home full of Color
  6. Lacquer & Linen
  7. Primitive & Proper
  8. Retro Ranch Renovation
  9. Sarah M. Dorsey Designs
  10. The Chronicles of Home
  11. The Makerista 
  12. The Thriftress
  13. The White Buffalo Styling Co.
  14. This, That, & Life

Friday Giveaway – Royal Design Studio!

Boy do I have a story to tell you! Come back on Monday if you want to hear something scary, seriously.

Instead of sharing my scary story today, I thought a giveaway was much more appropriate of a post to send us off into the official first weekend of spring.  You all LOVED my stenciled curtains so much, which is totally sweet and makes me so happy! Royal Design Studio thought it would be great to give one of my readers the chance to stencil something of their own, so today’s giveaway is just that – a chance to win a stencil worth $50 or less (free shipping included).  You could recreate my exact curtains – OR – choose a stencil from their vast collection of killer stencils.  You could seriously spend hours on their site browsing stencils, there are so many excellent ones available!

sparrow stenciled curtains | brittanyMakes

One lucky reader will win a stencil of his/her choice worth $50.  Each reader has 4 opportunities to win, just use the tool below!

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway, if you experience problems, try using another browser.  Only open to US residents.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

© Copyright brittanyMakes - Designed by Pexeto