Now that the two and a half year long renovation of our new home's living room is nearing completion, it's finally time to launch into the decorating phase. And while the thought of that excites me to no end, it's also somewhat terrifying. 

It's at this critical stage where I can't help but have nagging concerns. What if I make a costly mistake? What if we start purchasing furniture and accessories that don't work together or don't achieve the look we're going for in our home? How do I even begin to tackle decorating a room that's roughly 13 feet wide by 32 feet long?? For reference, this room is nearly as wide as our entire home in Old Town and almost half our home's length!(Here's a look at the home's full floor plan.

Getting started always seems like the toughest part. But luckily I've had quite some time to obsess think about it and plan for this phase of the renovation. So where did I start? With a floor plan, of course, as having a well defined but flexible plan provides me with a roadmap to get me from start to finish on any room's design.

In a room that feels like a cavernous bowling alley, I knew it would be important to create several different zones to break up the long, narrow space. Mentally I'm approaching the room as three different spaces: 

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When it comes to light fixtures, they don't have to cost a small fortune to be visually interesting. In fact, with a little ingenuity you can make a low cost but very unique and stylish fixture of your own.

In our quick office makeover we had initially planned on keeping the ceiling fan that came with the house, even though we never really liked it. Though we had plans to spray paint it white to help it disappear into the ceiling, we realized just how much this room was missing a central ceiling light fixture with a little style.

After determining we didn't need fan in this room thanks to the installation of central A/C, a massive search begin for a new fixture that was reasonably priced, fit the casual style of our home, and importantly, was the right size. We held up fixtures I had already purchased for other rooms in the house, looked all over Northern Virginia including several HomeGoods stores, Lowes, Home Depot, and World Market, and scoured online. 

Unfortunately though, we were striking out. Rather than spend a lot more time looking for that elusive unicorn of a fixture, we decided to go ahead and make one on our own.

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There's really no better way to understand how a home's rooms flow from one to the next than by looking at a floor plan. 

While we've been sharing the many recent projects we've been furiously working on at our "new" house, we've realized that the layout of our home may be quite confusing if you're reading along. In the past we put together a fairly detailed floor plan of our house in Old Town Alexandria, but we've yet to do the same for our house on the water.

So before we get further along in the descriptions of our work, how about we give you a little virtual tour of our space via a detailed floor plan, description, and a few photos?

From the outside our home is considered an American Foursquare, built at the very beginning of the style's popularity. 

But on the interior it shares many holdover architectural details more commonly associated with late Victorian era construction. This is especially true when it comes to the home's more ornate mouldings.

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Happy Valentine's Day! Whether you're celebrating the holiday with a special someone, a group of friends, or even cuddled up on your couch with a four-legged sidekick, one thing is certain. Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to celebrate love in your life.

For Alex and me, Valentine's Day has always been more about acknowledging the special people in our lives rather than a meal out at a restaurant. Celebrating Valentine's Day is also a wonderful a way to breathe a little bit of vibrant color into the usually cold and dreary days of February. But best of all, Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to throw a very quick and super simple get together that combines both the special people we love to be around and those vibrant colors we all need so badly in the midst of winter.

In honor of the day, and the ways we can all celebrate, I want to take a moment to share the details on a Valentine's Day shower I helped throw for a dear friend of ours that was expecting her second child. While ours was a baby shower, these tips apply to pretty much any party around the Valentine's holiday, and is a great alternative to dealing with dinner crowds and overpriced prix fixe menus you often see on Feb 14.

Our party planning got rolling after I eagerly volunteered to co-host a co-ed baby shower to celebrate the addition to our friend's family. She and her husband didn't want to find out the sex of the baby until his or her birthday, so therefore the co-hostess and I wanted to be a little bit creative in our approach. We quickly landed on a mid-February date for the party with the theme of love playing off the Valentine's Day holiday as well as the feelings the expectant parents already felt for their coming addition.

As you'll see, it's very easy to throw a love-inspired baby shower, but the concept could be easily adapted to fit a Valentine's date night in, a small party among friends, or even a girls' brunch.

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