House Tour- Our Dining Room

Ever since we moved I have wanted to do a house tour to show how we have been decorating. How we have been making it ‘home’.

I am kicking off with our dining room!

Referencing the plan, you can see that is is the first room you see when you enter the house. Plus, it’s the first area visible when you are approaching the house. At night when the lights are on, it’s very visible.

We really considered that when we were selecting and locating the furniture and decor in the room.

The furniture and decor in the room is a blend of pieces that we have already owned and ones that we picked up when we moved here.

The main element in the room is the dining table with the combination of chairs and bench. We found these pieces at the Tampa location of Nadaeu, a furniture store that imports really cool handmade pieces.

While shopping with a friend, I fell in love with this table and found chairs and a bench to match. Price and I went back for him to check it out and we scooped it all up. And then they held it for us for months since our completion date was delayed. They rock.

I keep various simple runners on the table, along with a handmade bowl, salt and pepper shakers, and slate coasters to protect the table. The bowl is made by one of Price’s uber talented friends who has a pottery studio, Barrel Maker Pottery, in Portland, Maine.

The other piece of furniture in the room is a gorgeous buffet that was a very generous hand me down from one of my bosses in Boston.  I was quite concerned about it moving because of the value and how much we like it. Thankfully the movers did a great job with it – just 1 minor knick on a corner.

We tried not to clutter the buffet but have it functional and fun too. We have some wine and booze, a slate cutting board from Crate and Barrel topped with a ceramic jar that Price’s brother made when he was in high school. To go with the alcohol, we have a sign that was at our wedding that says, “Trust me you can dance – Alcohol” from the Etsy shop, DodiDoodles. It’s a fun reminder of our wedding.

Above the buffet is a mirror from Ashley Furniture and a set of copper pots and pans. We picked up the copper pots and pans years ago while at Brimfield, an antiques flea market that is held 3x a year in Massachusetts. We picked this set up for a steal at just $100 5 years ago.

As I previously mentioned, the dining room is at the front of the house so I wanted the window treatment to stand out as it would be seen from the entry, and even the street. My friend, Nichole, and I went shopping at Ikea and stumbled upon the curtains that we felt would look great in the space, while still having an overall connection to the rest of the house by featuring a blue color.

The MJÖLKÖRT curtains are hung closer to the window on the RACKA rod and the denser, thicker SANELA curtains are hung on the outer HUGAD rod. The double rod system allows for the pair of curtains to be hung together but move around independently of each other.

Directly opposite the windows is a tobacco basket with some prints.

The tobacco basket is really old. It used to hang in Price’s mom’s kitchen and we scooped it up from her years ago. I love that it’s a statement piece and it has history to it. You can find old ones at flea markets or antique shops, or you can purchase a new one as many stores have started to recreate the look now.

The art prints are little mushrooms that my grandmother bought for me years ago when we were browsing a small shop, sadly now closed.

On the to-do list is getting a new light fixture. We opted to just install the standard lighting fixture from the builder as any upgraded fixtures from them were $$$ and we didn’t really love any of them. When we find a fixture that we really like we will have that installed. The current location of the fixture is centered in the room, not over the table, as we have the buffet in there, moving the table over closer to the entry. So we will need that relocated which is a bigger deal than just swapping out fixtures so we aren’t in a big rush at this time to take on that project.

Adjacent to the dining room is the entry. There is not much to this area besides a lighting fixture (to eventually swap out) and a side table.

The side table was another piece that was from a boss in Boston. We have located this in various places in our past apartment and condo (entry, bedroom, respectively) but decided that currently works best here now as the wood is similar to the table in the dining room

Above this are 3 prints that feature the town where my husband grew up, Skaneateles, NY. I took the large picture at the bottom of Skaneateles Lake, and the other 2 are professional picture from the north end of the lake, where the town is located.

Besides the light fixture, we are really happy with our dining room. It’s a great place to come together and eat dinner as a family, which we do every weekend. The weeknight dinners are more casual, as we eat dinners at different times, and happen at the kitchen island or at the table in the Breakfast Nook.


  1. Update lighting as a new lighting fixture can really transform a room. Even changing the existing lighting fixture’s bulb color temperature can make a big change.
  2. Layer curtains for a fun play on patterns and textures.
  3. Display a collection as a focal point. Artwork or dishes make a great feature.
  4. Mix types of seating for versatility and functionality.
  5. Use existing pieces in your home in the room in a new way.
  6. Add a mirror to create a feature that helps brighten the space.
  7. Use a patterned rug to help hide spills and add a fun accent on the floor
  8. Personalize the room with family photos or portraits.
  9. A fresh or good quality silk floral arrangement are great options for bringing nature into the room.
  10. Decorate with wine! Show off your collection of wine or liquor for a fun celebratory feel


Up next is our kitchen tour!





Our House: Building Update #1

Throughout the process of building our house, I’ll give updates outlining the different stages of  construction and our experiences with them. 



Our house is under construction!!!!!!

We are so excited to be in the process of building it.

This first update spans a great deal of time, but future updates will be shorter in time and with more process. The beginning stages take some times as there is time for permitting, surveying, leveling the lost, framing the foundation, pouring it, etc. Once the house is framed the pace tends to accelerate (hopefully!).

So let’s begin!

Monday 4/25/16

Bought Our House

We signed the contract for our house!!!

In the following weeks we send emails to our designer, Ali, at the Design Studio asking about some finishes and pricing. We didn’t immediately make an appointment to select our finishes as we still were pricing out our options and we preferred to do that on our time, in private to discuss money without a designer there. We felt it would be beneficial to be more prepared at our design meeting.

While that was happening, an architectural firm was readying drawings to submit to the building department for review for a building permit

Wednesday 5/25/16

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We met with our designer at the Design Studio to make our finish selections. (I will do more an in depth recap of that process)


Wednesday 6/1/16

Our plans were submitted to the building department for permitting.

This process typically takes 30 business days for Hillsborough County, where we are building.

Thursday 6/9/16

Price dropped off the 30% check for the design options that we selected that was over our budgeted amount. This is due as we exceeded the original contract amount.

Wednesday 6/22/16


We frequently checked the building department website to check on the status of our permit. We saw that the Graphics Review was now complete and being forwarded on to the plans examiner for their review.

Friday 7/1/16


Our permit was denied! Ugh!

The comments and rejected plans are now going back to the architect to get updated and revised for re-submission.

While this is extremely disappointing as we wanted things to keep moving on, I have worked on plenty of projects that have permit comments. It’s a bummer, but it happens.

Thursday 7/14/16


The comments causing the permit to be denied were addressed by the architect so now they are back in the building department for review.

Friday 7/22/16


We are really excited at this point as the plans have now been reviewed and approved. The next steps in the getting the permit in hand is under way!!!!

Thursday 7/28/16


Our Permit was granted!!!

Tuesday 8/2/16


We met with our project Manager, Chris Bernhardt, to review the process and estimated schedule of building our house. Chris was great to meet with as we did a great job at explaining the process to us. While we are well versed in architecture and construction, we are not that familiar with residential projects. Also, building in Florida is going to be different, in some ways, than what we are familiar with from growing up in the Northeast. There are different codes and practices that are here, like building is done on grade vs on basement foundation or that of a crawlspace (like what I grew up with).

Wednesday 8/10/16

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Stopped by in the afternoon to check on progress. Nothing had been done to our lot, except for the flags being installed indicating underground utilities. The lot next door had their slab staked.

Friday 8/12/16

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Signed off on 2 revisions to our electrical plan that we made during our 8/2 meeting with Chris. They were electronically sent back to our designer at the Design Studio to be officially added to the contract documents. (Make sure you get everything in writing!)

Saturday 8/13/16

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Crews were working on our neighbor’s house (she got her permit before us). No progress on our lot.

Monday 8/15/16

Price stopped by after work and saw that our lot was scraped and leveled. As well the corners of the house were located, per survey.

Excited to see progress but questioning if the location of the corners are correct as they are so close to the black silt fencing.

Tuesday 8/16/16


Price emailed our Project Manager asking about the location of the house as it appears to be so close to the silt fence (property line?) and the adjacent house.

Stopped by in the afternoon (2.30pm) to check on progress. No crews on site, but more slab framing had occurred.

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I had a tape measure with me so I took some measurements of our house corners to the house next door. Verified that the location of the house was correct. The deceiving part is that the neighbor next door laid a brick walk off  from their lanai in their set back area. Their house and lanai are located right along their set back line (5′ from property line) so this through us off a bit.

Received an email (3.30pm) from our project Manager further explaining what I has just figured out while I was on site. Additionally, clarified that the silt fence is not on our property line, it was set further in.

Saturday 8/20/16

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We stopped by the house to see if there was any progress since we had last been there on the 16th. During that time crews dug trenches for plumbing supply and drain lines.

Monday 8/22/16

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This visit gave as a real peek at what plumbing lines go into the ground before the slab is poured. Plus, it was fun to space plan where things where as we could identify rooms where things where going, like our sink is in out kitchen island so I could stand there and pretend to see the living room and backyard from there.

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We noted that a plumbing line and drain on our lanai was missing.

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Tuesday 8/23/16


We stopped by again to see how things were going at the site, in particular we were wondering if the missing plumbing for the lanai was installed- it still had not been.

We emailed Chris about this as we didn’t want to be in the position of having to chip out a brand new slab missing stuff that were always in the drawings. Of course, there are inspections, but I have been on plenty of job sites when things have been missed.

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Wednesday 8/24/16

Price stopped by after work to check on things and saw that they had the plumbing for the lanai installed!

Thursday 8/25/16

The plumbing passed inspection and the vapor barrier had been laid down in preparation of pouring the slab.

Saturday 8/27/16

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We stopped by the house at 8.30 am to check on the crew pouring the slab. It was exciting to pull up to the house and see 4 concrete mixing trucks right out front of our lot!!

We left shortly after 9 to head back home and get on with our day. They were still hard at work pouring concrete.

Sunday 8/28/16

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We were expecting to see the crew again hard at work but they actually wrapped up the day before!

It was so wonderful to see the smooth slab. We had wanted to stick our hands into it while it was wet but it was well worth missing out on that to have the slab done.

The next step is to wait for the delivery for the Concrete Masonry Units (CMU), aka block,  for the first floor block walls.

Tuesday 8/30/16

Emailed Chris requesting a project update and the next steps as we saw that the block, had been delivered to the house.

As well, we asked him about the landscaping for the property. It’s a long way away but we were curious to know what plans are included for our property (it varies by building and by house design) and the general layout. We are interested in knowing what would be included since there are plants that we do/don’t want and we want to clarify with the landscaper where we will plan on installing a fence.

Wednesday 8/31/16

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Received an email from our Project Manager saying that we just need to wait out the storm to get started- totally understandable.

Chris also included an example landscaping plan and plant list. The plan is not site specific so they would need to make adjustments for our house and the lot (pie shaped). While there is a list of plants on the plan, he clarified that the plants do depend on what the nursery has on hand (due to season and stock). (Good, since we dislike most of them. ha!)

Thursday 9/1/16 Through Monday, 9/5/16 (Labor Day)

Hurricane Hermine and Labor Day Weekend really-wrecked havoc on our schedule. The storm prevented the crews from working on the block walls for the first floor of the house. And then it was Labor Day weekend.

On top of that, the geniuses that delivered the block on site on 8/30 also brought bags and bags of cement, which got ruined by all the rain that fell. So we needed crews to free up and more supplies to get delivered to the site.

Tuesday, 9/6/16

Price emailed our Project Manager Chris (4.30pm) to let him know that we had been by on Saturday and Sunday, the 3rd and 4th, to see if there was any progress (there was none) and to bring to his attention all the cement that has been ruined. Additionally, we wanted to confirm that the lanai has a gas line, as we didn’t see one next to the plumbing.

Chris promptly responded at 5.15pm that he will remind the block installers that the cement is ruined. He also clarified for us that gas line is run later in the project.

Friday, 9/9/16

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I stopped by after work to check on progress at the site, the block crew was working on the neighboring house. This was great since we had to wait a bit for crews to be available again since the schedule got all messed up from the storm and holiday weekend. I had a quick chat with one of the guys on site and he said they would be starting on our house on Saturday and it should be done by EOD Monday.

Saturday, 9/10/16

When we did a quick drive by the site mid-morning, we didn’t see any action yet on our house. The crew was next door working.

Sunday, 9/11/16


Since the crews had worked on past weekends, we stopped by to see if they were working. Unfortunately, they were not, but it gave us a chance to walk around and check things out since they did start on our house…

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Our excitement was quickly washed away when we were walking around the site and I noticed some trash stuffed in one ofthe blocks. I grabbed it and discovered it was a half eaten pulled pork sandwich. Then we noticed beer bottles in the walls.

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We began the process of walking around the site to see what else we could find.


In the end we pulled out about 20 empty and almost empty bottles of Corona from the block walls.

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Food was also found in the piles of block that were set up in staging areas around the site. While those could have been cleaned up later on as they grabbed those blocks to use them, they clearly had no intention of cleaning up the bottles in the various walls. Assholes.

We emailed the team about this at 1pm explaining what we saw with pictures. We tried to keep it up beat but clearly we were pissed off, frustrated, and hurt that people would disrespect us and our house this way.

We got calls and emails from the team but I still stopped by the show house later on (around 5pm) in the afternoon and spoke with Renee to confirm that we didn’t want a new crew, which would cause a delay in schedule, but a supervisor watching over the crew would be acceptable. She apologized for the behavior of that crew as we discussed what happened while reviewing photos. (I spoke with Chris the following day and he apologized repeatedly as well.)

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I then went back to the house to get out more bottles with a grabbing tool. I was able to get all but 2 broken bottles.

Monday, 9/12/16


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Stopped by the house on my way to work to check on things. A crew was there and a supervisor was there with them.

Then my dad stopped by later on in the day and snapped a few pics of the crew working.

Tuesday, 9/13/16

The lintel of the house (the top 2 tiers of block of the first floor) are getting filled today.

Wednesday, 9/14/16


My dad stopped by and snapped a few picture so we could see the progress of the block being done!


I am stopping this recap at this point to capture the competition of the block. My next update will be about the framing of the interior and exterior walls.

While there have been some schedule delays and issues with a crappy crew, we are so excited that our house is underway. The Ashton Woods team that we have been working with has been great and attentive along the way.

We are looking forward to the next steps of the process.

How To: Labeling Your Garbage Cans

Since we moved in I’ve been saying that I would spray paint the garbage cans so there would be no mix up when we take them to the curb. Everyone else’s is marked so this is not a ‘this is mine, don’t touch it!’ sort of thing. You just never know if your garbage can will go blowing down the city block after it has been emptied. I didn’t just want to freehand spray paint the cans with our house number… I wanted to give them some curb appeal!!


Well, after weeks and weeks of saying I would do it I finally got around to doing it this morning before work. Thankfully, it is super hot now so standing out side at 6am was nice as it was already 80 (I love it!!). We were armed with the stencils I made with my Cricut, but you can even make a stencil by hand or just buy some. We also had some painters tape and some Rust-oleum spray paint. It was pretty easy job and I am happy with how it came out. Still there are some things I would do differently:

  1. Wear gloves. I only put gloves on for the last # and now part of my left hand is bright green even after scrubbing the crap out of them.
  2. Make more stencils. I only made one ‘7’ and one ‘fleur de lis’ thinking I would just reuse it. Unfortunately, it was getting tricky at the end to reuse them and not make a horrible mess on the trash cans & my hands (see above). Should have listened to Pricer!
  3. Mask the stencils differently. I would first position the stencils and then put the mask on. I think it would have allowed me to work easier and get crisper lines as the stencil would have been taped right to the can.
I’ve written out directions below on how I would do it next time. Once I sprayed on the first things I realized immediately the mistakes I made setting us up. Follow the directions below and you will have an easy time labeling your trash cans. 

Curb appeal… I was thinking of doing a pineapple on the trash cans but our mailbox has a fluer de lis already on it so I went with that. Pick a symbol that you like to enhance the overall look!

Damn… we look good!

Labeling Your Garbage Cans


  • Stencils, sized to fit your trash cans
  • newspaper
  • scissor
  • painter’s tape
  • gloves
  • spray paint*
  • garbage cans
  • ruler, optional

*I really suggest getting Rust-oleum’s Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover. This works on a variety of surfaces, including plastic, and there were a lot of nice colors. I used Key Lime.

  1. Identify where you want the number and/or symbol to go on the trash cans. Put a strip, or several, of painter’s tape on the trash can to create guides to position the stencils. Use a rule to help center or keep lines level, as needed.
  2. Tape the stencils(s) to the garbage can.
  3. Cut a piece of newspaper the size of the stencil in the center of the piece of paper. Place the newspaper shield over the stencil and tape into place. 
  4. While wearing gloves, evenly and gently spray paint the can at the stencil.
  5. Remove the newspaper shield and the stencil gently. Lastly, remove the tape guides from the trash can.


Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive. 

Complete Chaos

So movers came on Wednesday…




The 2 guys form BCB Movers were fantastic and moved the crap out of our stuff. They were so nice and efficient. They even tried to get the box spring up stairs by taking the front door off but still no-go. ugh!

And now we are living in complete chaos…





All of this mess could be why we ate popcorn for dinner last night. Or maybe why  I was distracted this morning taking pictures and didn’t know my camera was on manual and they all are a blurry mess.

We still have a few trips left to do to get some stuff at the apartment but we have it all planned out and will turn over the keys on Sunday morning. And then we will take the best nap ever.

Real life and blogging will return next week. Maybe by then I will find the skirt I was attempting to wear today.


Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive. 

Our House

Is a very, very fine house…

(back unit- furthest from street)



We’re really excited about the new adventure at hand. We have been discussing where different pieces of furniture can go around the house. What new pieces we can get, what to get rid of. It’s all about making this space our own. I’m super excited about the kitchen and open first floor, Pricer is excited about a man cave, and we are both really excited to have an outside space again. 🙂

Exciting first purchase (besides something I ordered online) for the house were trash cans.

And these are some pics…


view of kitchen from front door // kitchen from living room corner

view of kitchen, closet, and stair door to basement

I realized I didn’t take any photos of the living room… imagine a room with 2 windows.


closet // door to stairway to finished basement


first floor half bath


view from bottom of the stairs up to 2nd fl // view from top of the stairs to 1st fl



big bedroom



smaller bedroom


upstairs bathroom


tub // closet


finished basement from bottom of stairs


finished basement- bathroom, laundry, stairs

big wall of finished basement (perfect for a projector!)


basement bathroom with shower stall

I can’t wait until we are all moved in and we get to start to make it our own!!