How We Make a House a Home

How We Make a House a Home

You know how important home is and what it means to us. Home to us is a feeling; a feeling of love and comfort that you just can’t get anywhere else. But part of that feeling is having a home that reflects who you are and who/where you want to be.

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Why The Right Lighting Can Make All The Difference

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When we were working on our house for the show, we found a chandelier for our dining room that we both thought was so cute. The black and wood color matched the overall design of our dining room and had the look we wanted. We felt good about our purchase and loved it once it was installed. All was right in the world. Until it wasn't 

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Our chandelier before

After being here a year, we realized we almost never turn that chandelier on when we're eating. We usually stick to either the overhead recessed lighting or the two sconces on the wall and our two lamps for a cozier, more inviting vibe. Why, you ask? (Assuming you asked us because you're on the edge of your seat wondering what happens next) The reason is because the light our chandelier put off was too. dang. stark. And bright. And harsh. In short, it hurt to look at and definitely didn’t feel inviting to eat under when it was on. 

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Our chandelier before

Once we realized this we have been on the hunt for the perfect replacement ever since. We also wanted something more substantial. Our old chandelier felt too thin for the room. We needed something a little bulkier. You were beautiful to look at black & wood colored chandelier, but you just weren't the right fit for us.

Enter Hudson Valley Lighting. They have SO many options for every kind of light you can think of: wall sconces. flush mounts, pendants, table lamps, picture lighting, and of course, chandeliers. They offer literally thousands of different products from various companies so you're guaranteed to find the light you're looking for. It was actually really fun to go through all the options until we found the one we felt would look perfect in our dining room. And one of the best parts of the whole process was each chandelier usually has 2-3 different finishes to choose from, so you have some options.

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So more on why we chose the chandelier that we did. We were looking for an aged brass chandelier to offset our black sconces that we have above our buffet. We also wanted one that had shades on it to create a cozier atmosphere with more ambient lighting, lighting that would encourage intimate dinners with friends and family. After searching through so many lights, we finally settled on the perfect one.

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We ended up choosing the Charlotte chandelier in aged brass and we absolutely love it. It's sophisticated, charming, and puts off the coziest, warm light that's been perfect for late night dinners. Also, aren't the little shades so cute? 

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Also, the aged brass looks gorgeous against the black table and chairs. You know our favorite combination is black, wood white, and brass, as evident from our kitchen:

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If you're looking for your gorgeous lighting options for all rooms of your house you should definitely check out Hudson Valley Lighting. We are so in love with our new chandelier and we can't wait to get more lights for other rooms in our home!

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(This post is sponsored by Hudson Valley Lighting. Thank you for supporting the brands that we endorse.)

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Friday Favorites

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Happy Friday!! How has your week been? PJ has been out of town all week working on an exciting new project with our friend Brian Patrick Flynn. With PJ gone, Thomas has been spending a lot of time with his family and catching up on some much needed house cleaning.

What are you up to this weekend? We have a few friends coming to stay with us, plus PJ gets back into town (!!!) so it should be a fun weekend. 

We've been digging some items recently and we can't get them out of our heads. We think you'll like them, too. Check them out below and click the pictures to shop!

This nautical inspired bedside table that we ordered two of for our guest bedroom. 

This fun-shaped wooden end table that we also recently got from Wayfair. It's even more beautiful in person.

How fun are these linen pants from Gap? Perfect for summer don't you think?

We've been really into decorating with tans lately, so we can totally see this vase from Target on our bookshelves in our living room.

We're not normally into fake plants, but for $8, you can't beat this faux succulent that looks real enough that no one would even notice.

An oldie but goody, this lamp from Threshold is a cheaper alternative to similar lamps by Pottery Barn and West Elm. We have two of these lamps in our house and love them.

We hope you have a wonderful weekend, friend! 

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We Finally Finished Our Front Guest Bedroom

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If you have been following us for a least a year, you know our ongoing struggle to finally finish our front guest bedroom. When we first moved in, it was staged as a bedroom for the show, and looked like this:

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It was simple, clean, and honestly, not much to it. It did the job for what it was supposed to do, which was look like an upstairs bedroom as the camera showed it onscreen for maybe three seconds. After the show was over, though, it became something else. Something much, much worse. 

See, we moved into this house last year, but after we moved we still had some stuff over at our old house that we had to bring over. Why we didn't bring it all over in the first place? Honestly who knows. We think we were just so exhausted from the months of filming the show that we kind of took it easy for a second. Well, bad idea, because someone broke into our old house (where a lot of our stuff was still being stored) and stole a lot of stuff. It was bad and we felt so violated, but luckily it wasn't anything replaceable (though our old camera was stolen so, yikes).

After that, we moved everything into our current house and unfortunately, a lot of the stuff went into the front bedroom and it became a major junk room (which you can see footage of in the video below) for almost a year. You could barely walk through it and it always felt so overwhelming every time we went in there. 

Well, that feeling is no more! And you can walk through it just fine! We partnered up with Wayfair to help transform our guest bedroom into a room that our guests will actually enjoy staying in. We set a budget and surprisingly ended up sticking to it! We detailed it all in our YouTube video below, if you want to check it out.

 In the meantime, here’s how it all looks after we put it all together:

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We wanted to go for a bright, classic look, so we used whites, blacks, warm wood tones, and blue got a fresh and somewhat coastal theme. This room gets the most beautiful light in the morning and we wanted the room to reflect that happy, positive feeling of waking up.

Again, you can check out the whole process in our newest YouTube video below! 

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How Our House Looks One Year Later

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We have officially lived in our house a year! How has time gone by this quickly? Okay technically it was a year on April 21st, the day after we finished filming our pilot episode, since we moved in the very next day. But time got away from us and we forgot to post, so here we are. A year and two weeks later.

We’ve loved living here, in this house and with our neighbors and over the last year have enjoyed making this house feel like a home. When we were fixing it up for all those months and then when we finally filmed the reveal, it didn’t feel like a home to us, really. There were cameras and lights and microphones and people walking in and out constantly, setting things up or helping put things in their place. It was wonderful and exciting, but again, it just didn’t feel like an actual home. It felt more like a movie set, actually. 

We tried to make it as homey looking as possible for the show, but with the perfectly placed flowers, the books with their spines turned around (since we can’t show the covers of the books on TV without the author’s permission), and the (beautiful) art that we were borrowing from our local museum, there was only so much we could do to make it feel homey. 

Which brings us to the present. A year later we have made this house a home, the way we want it to be and are settling in just fine. We’ve enjoyed making small changes here and there, but for the most part everything has stayed in its place. We thought it would fun to take a look back at how the house looked a year ago, when we staged it for TV, and compare how the house looks today now that it’s had people living in it for a year.

Our living room probably looks the most like it did whenever we staged it for the show. We have all of the same pieces in there but added an antique console table that was PJ's grandma's under the three windows on the left. We also put brown, faux wood blinds in there for privacy. Oh, but the biggest change in there is that we turned all of our books around! Like we said, we couldn't have them facing the camera, so we turned them all backwards so that the cream and yellow pages were all you could see. It's definitely ~a look~ and we can appreciate it, but it's not the look we really want in our living room.

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Staged for TV

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Today

We staged the room below as sort of a "center hall", well, that's what we called it a least. Just a room that you pass through a decorate with pretty things. It didn't serve much use in the show, but these days we use it as a breakfast nook of sorts. We eat most of our meals here, especially when our dining room table is filled with clothes that need to be folded.

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Staged for TV

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Today

The master bedroom below almost looks the exact same, minus the addition of a few pictures, new lamps, and new bedside tables. Oh, and we switched out the rugs in here, too. We put our bedroom rug in our dining room since we felt it was too big for our room, and brought in the rug you see in the center hall above.

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Staged for TV

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Today

The kitchen is also pretty much the same, except we added some bamboo blinds for privacy and warmth/texture, and we brought in our stainless steel commercial island that we had in our last house. Fun fact: PJ had orginally built an island made out of wood that he salvaged from this house, but once it was completed and we got it in there, it ended up being too big, so now it lives on our back porch as a potting table/place to set food when we have guests.

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Staged for TV

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Today

Hate that we didn't get a proper "before" shot of the kitchen from this angle, but the behind the scenes picture from the pilot will give you an idea of what it looked like. Our kitchen is almost completely white, so the chalkboard wall gives it a little bit more personality, visual interest, and makes it feel like we're in a coffee shop :).

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We staged the front room to the right as an office for the show, complete with the schoolhouse desk PJ found on the side of the road (!!!!), floor plans from our last house, and books. We actually kept it as an office for the first few months we lived here and had our TV room upstairs. We soon found out it was an inconvenience to go uptairs just to watch TV, when we didn't really go upstairs for any other reason, so we turned it into our den. In fact, we mostly keep the air turned off upsatirs (we're cheap, so what) when we don't have guests because we have everything we need on the main floor. Whiiiiiiiich is why we rarely take pictures of our upstairs and why you won't see any in today's post :). 

We are actually working on redoing some of the rooms and making them look more presentable so we will be back in a few weeks to show you all the progress we've made!!!

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Staged for TV

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Today

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Our master bath wasn't shown too much on the show, so we did minimal styling. Mostly just white towle and green plants sitting on our marble-topped window ledge. Since then we've added some affordable (and bright!) cafe curtains and a new storage cabinet between the two sinks. We were supposed to have a vanity instead of the double sinks, but our cabinet maker couldn't get to it in time before our deadline for the show, so alas, we are stuck with two sinks and little to no storage in our bathroom. There's something that's charming about the pedestal sinks but more storage and counter space would be sooooo nice. We plan to put an actual vanity in next year or so.

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Staged for TV

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Today

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Today

The hall bath REALLY wasn't shown on the show (like, at all) so all we did was throw a little rug in there. Notice how we didn't even put up a shower curtain. Everything is pretty much the same in there now, just with a shower curtain and a black and white picture of Marlon Brando above the toilet because, who wouldn't want to use the bathroom with Marlon Brando jumping in the air making a funny face?

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Staged for TV

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Today

Our dining room in the back of the house. We originally built this room as a sun room, and then we reworked the windows and planned on making it a den/family room (since our office was in the front room on the right, remember?) BUT THEN we found the table. Ahh... the table. We had seen it at our favorite antique store for years and when it came time for the show, we knew we had to have it. We were able to get it for hundreds off asking price, because you should never pay full price for furnitire. EVER. The only problem is it was 12 ft long and wouldn't fit in the original dining room, so the only room it would fit in is the new den/family room, which was an addition. So, we added a chandelier and had our trim guy cut it down 3 ft to make it a 9 foot table (because 12 ft was still too long for that room!!) and that's the story of it. Below the before/now pics, you can see what it looked like when we first put it in the room to see if it would fit. 

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Staged for TV

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Today. We've actually done more to the dining room since this picture was taken back in February, like adding bamboo woven blinds, more pictures, and more plants. Currently our table is buried under a mountain of clothes, so we'll stick with this older picture for now :) 

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So that's it! This was a long post but a fun one to look back on and compare. We're just showing you the downstairs for now, minus the laundry room which we are still setting it up the way we want it to look, but that wasn't shown on the show anyway. We plan to show the upstairs once we get that completed, again, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

Which look do you prefer? Staged for TV or "lived" in?