Monday, August 28, 2017

My Favorite Houseplants & Their Care

I have had a few requests for this post over the last months, and I have hesitated to write it because I am so NOT a plant whisperer. But, I do love plants so much, and I have found a few that are pretty easy to keep alive and can really make a room happy and fresh.

At the bottom of this post, I am sharing some simple tips for keeping your plants happy. It's nothing super science-y or difficult, but it's little things I have picked up over the years that have helped me. 

These plants that I am sharing with you are the ones that I have found to be some of the easiest to keep alive & I love how they look. 

1. Pothos Ivy // Epipremnun Aureum

^^ This guy might just be the easiest plant to keep alive. It can grow in window-less rooms (I had one in my cubical back in the day). You can also propagate this plant simply by snipping a vine off and placing it in water. You can leave it in the water or plant it in dirt once the roots start growing. I water this plant when I notice the leaves getting a little droopy. I've had this Pothos for over 4 years and it has weathered 4 moves with us. He is a winner!

2. Burro's Tail // Sedum Morganianum

^^ Burro's Tail loves light and it does very well in this south facing window. This pot doesn't have good drainage, but I compensated for that by placing some small gravel in the bottom of the pot to catch the excess whenever I might overwater it. I let it dry out well in between waterings.

3. Swiss Cheese Vine // Monstera Obliqua

^^ I have only had this monstera for 2-3 months, but I wanted to share it because I love how cute it is! And it grows so quickly. It is currently sitting on our westerly facing front porch and it receives bright, indirect light. I need to repot it as the soil seems to dry out pretty quickly. I'll typically mist this guy when I'm out misting my hanging ferns.

4. Old Man Cactus // Cephalocereus Senilis

^^ If you follow me over on Instagram, you've probably seen this cactus before. I bought it about 7 months ago at Home Depot of all places, and it has grown so quickly. I've never had a cactus grow this quickly for me before. I moved it outside on our east-facing deck during the summer and it seems to like the amount of sun there. I will say that all of my cacti and succulents do much better in terra cotta pots. I tend to overwater, but the terra cotta is so porous that that isn't an issue.

5. Baby Rubber Plant // Peperomia Obtusifolia

^^ I've had this plant for about 7 months as well and it is very easy to care for. It likes high light and likes the soil to dry out in between waterings.

6. String of Hearts // Ceropegia Woodii

^^ Although the String of Hearts is a messy plant, I love how dainty it is. I'm a sucker for trailing vines. This guy also likes my south-facing window, but I don't have it in direct sunlight usually. I let the soil dry out in between waterings.

Some simple tips for happy plants:

// I keep a watering can nearby so that I can easily and quickly water my plants. If it's not convenient, I typically let my plants go too long without water and sometimes they don't recover! I also set a reminder on my phone once every week (Sundays) to water my plants. Some need more or less than that, but at least I don't go weeks without remembering! :)

// If I pot a plant into a container that doesn't have good drainage, I make sure to place an inch or so of gravel in the bottom of the pot to keep any excess water off of the roots. 

// Before you fill a pot with soil + your plant, place a coffee filter in the bottom of the pot so that the soil doesn't fall out of the hole. 

// More often than not, my sad-looking plants just need a bit of rearranging so that they they get more sunlight. Most light-loving plants need to "see" the sky from where they sit. 

// I will occasionally aerate my plant's soil to allow proper drainage and so the the roots can breathe.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Our 1920 Sears Kit House Tour: Kitchen & Dining Room // Part 3

This blog post is part 3 in a home tour series I am doing on our Sears kit house that was built in 1920. We bought this house last summer (end of July 2016) and we have spent the better part of the last twelve months renovating it. I've linked to the previous blog posts in the series at the bottom of this post. Be sure to check those out if you want to see the "before" pictures. 

Today I am tackling the kitchen and dining room and giving you lots of different angles of the space as well as sources and names of the products we used. I've been getting loads of questions about all of these things on Instagram especially, so I hope this is helpful for those of you who have been asking. 

When we bought the house, the kitchen had to be completely gutted. Unfortunately, none of the cabinetry could be salvaged except for in the pantry (which is nearly impossible to take pictures of). But, we did have cabinets built that closely resemble what they used to look like - I'll share more about those details in a bit. 

Most of the floors in the kitchen are original. We decided to keep the damaged boards where the sink used to be and chalked it up to character. 

This is an angle that I don't think I've shared anywhere before. We took out that wall in between the kitchen and dining room to open things up. You can see through those two doorways on the left into the dining room and the informal living room (a full tour of that room coming atcha soon!) and the door way on the right goes into a back hallway where you can get to the pantry, a full bathroom, a coat closet, and the stairway to the side door and basement. 

The calendar is from (I just have it hung from a vintage wooden hanger) and the "food" banner is from Matriarch Handmade.

In the island, I decided to go with all drawers and I am so glad I did! If I ever get to design custom cabinets again, I will go for drawers all day long.

Soap bottles are from either TJ Maxx or World Market. Dish brushes are all from Amazon. 

The sink is definitely one of my very favorite aspects of the kitchen. The northerly view out the two large, original windows is of our neighbor's massive crepe myrtle tree. The pink flowers are not a terrible thing to look at while doing dishes.

Beautiful hand towel from Jenkins and Co.

I absolutely love that the windows come down to meet the countertops. Speaking of countertops, I've linked the source for the quartz below, as well as the hardware and lighting, etc. We had quartz in our last kitchen that we remodeled and I loved it. I would choose it again for the next house too!

The cabinets were custom made by a local company called Woodstock Cabinet Co. They made designing a kitchen a breeze and I loved working with them. It seems that everyone who has completely remodeled a kitchen complains about how difficult it is. We remodeled this entire house (two full bathrooms included), and the kitchen was by far the easiest. 

Some of the details that I talked through with Woodstock when we were designing the space were that I wanted the kitchen to be simple and in keeping with the timeframe of when this house was built - 1920. I wanted to modernize the space in a manner of speaking (like modern conveniences), but I didn't want it to feel like a different house when you walked into the kitchen. That is one of my pet peeves with people who renovate or flip old homes. 

So, we went with a shaker style door and large drawer fronts and I stuck with plain faces for the smaller drawers. One small detail that packs a huge design punch is that the drawers and doors are flush inset. Each drawer and door fits beautifully into the frame. It takes extra precision and craftsmanship (and money) to do this, but I knew that was the little detail that would make all of the difference in the end. Although I am not an educated designer by any means, I have learned with time that it's the little details that take things to the next level. 

The pour over tea kettle is from World Market.

I ended up going with three different types of cabinet hardware. I chose pulls for the drawers, knobs for some of the doors, and latches for any single doors. Each type of hardware is an antiqued brass finish, but they are still slightly different. All of the hardware that I used is linked below.

The jute rug is from IKEA. 

As with any house project, there seems to always be those things that never quite get finished. You're probably wondering where the hood vent for the stove is...yeah that never quite happened. 

All of my wooden utensils, salt and pepper shakers, glass jars, and cutting boards have been thrifted over time. I am always on the hunt for beautiful, old but useful everyday items. 

White kitchens are not everyone's cup of tea, but I love them. One of the ways that I like to take the edge off of white is by infusing warmth into the space with those natural, warm elements like wood, leather, jute rugs, natural bristle dish brushes, and brass.

I found that wooden fruit bowl at a garage sale as the owner was packing things away at the end of a long, hot day. He just gave it to me!

Nearly all of the trim work in the downstairs was unpainted when we bought it. The previous owners had painted the trim in the kitchen and downstairs bathroom and the entire upstairs at some point. So, with opening up the kitchen (painted trim) to the dining room (unpainted trim), that made the transition a little tricky. 

When we opened up these two spaces, we also decided to remove the two sets of windows in the back and replace them with these french doors leading out to the new deck. 

Pretty much everything in the dining room is thrifted, found on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. I'll put links below for the few things that I purchased new.

If house renovating or flipping is of interest to you, I have a newsletter that I send out with loads of information on how we have gone about flipping our houses while living in them and how we have paid off loads of debt all while raising our babies and working full time. I don't share that information anywhere else, so you have to be subscribed


*All photography by Melissa Click Photography


In case you missed it, below are the previous segments of the home tour: