We're in the midst of a "quick office makeover" which has now stretched into weekend four of work.

At this point I believe we have about one or two more weekends of work left until we reach the finish line, and I'm absolutely thrilled with the progress. If you ask us, the true challenge when it comes to "quick" makeovers is actually twofold. First, you need to resign yourself to the fact that you're going to sink time and money into a project that may not be permanent. But for me, the bigger difficulty comes from a seemingly simple question, "Where do you stop?"

The closet door in this room was one of those discussion items for us, specifically when it came to the hardware. Alex and I both like to do things the "right" way. We don't like cutting corners and we love original details. But at the same time, it's a slippery slope when it comes to small architectural details that need restoration. Before you know it you're spending more time than you want on a "quick" project while leaving your "not-so-quick" projects abandoned just a room or two away.

In our office, we believe the the closet door and its hardware are original to the home dating back to 1908. Previous work to the room resulted in layer upon layer of paint being applied right over those beautiful cast iron strap hinges, leaving us with cracked, bumpy, chipped, and generally worse for the wear hardware on this door.


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Comments 8

Sometimes all you need is a little progress to get reenergized and very excited for what's to come!

We're not new to this DIY game and understand the amount of time it can sometimes take to feel like you're actually getting somewhere on a project, but at times it can be hard to remember just how it feels to transform a space when the transformation takes a long time to come to fruition.

Several weeks ago I shared with you my tendency to "convince" us to jump from project to project when my impatience (and feeling we're lacking progress) begins to mount. Though we have several ongoing and long term projects we're working on, I really felt like I needed a quick win to jump start my energy on our renovation. The inspiration to make this switch in priority came thanks to an offering of help from my parents, who offered to do some painting and help us move forward.

With the promise of help we whipped into high gear on prepping our new home's office for painting, and acquired all of the necessary supplies in anticipation of my parents' arrival. When the day came we all piled in our cars and headed to the house with thoughts of paint brushes dancing in our heads. While Alex finished up sanding and doing a final coat on all of the drywall patches, my parents and I began the time consuming task of priming everything in the room.

Personally, when I think of painting I often think of the quick and usually low cost but major impact of change a new wall color can bring to a room. Unfortunately, it's way too easy to forget the amount of time and effort this often takes. Between sanding and patching holes, getting the walls prepped for paint, priming, carefully cutting in around all of the trim, giving yourself adequate dry time, and making sure your brush marks all go with the grain of the wood and do not leave drips, before you know it you've invested many hours with your fingers crossed that you'll like the color when it's done.


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Comments 18

2016 has admittedly been a turbulent year throughout the world.

If you've spent much time on social media lately you've no doubt seen the pleas from many to just move 2016 on out the door, that it's done enough, taken too much, left its fingerprints on history in far too tragic a manner.

Typically at this point in the year all of us DIY bloggers like to gleefully reflect on the past year and all that was accomplished. But it would seem a bit too saccharine if we were to focus only on all of the successes. So instead, this year we're going to take a quick look at all of this year for us, and reflect on the Good, Bad, and the Ugly of 2016.

Wendy:

Our year started out with a planned but difficult "Bad." I kicked off 2016 with absolutely no kicking at all following my second major hip surgery in as many years. Last year was the year of my right hip, and therefore 2016 became the year of my left hip.

This is the result of a hereditary and/or congenital condition called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI or even femoral acetabular impingement), where the head of my femur doesn't fit correctly in my hip socket. In order to correct it, my femur had to be dislocated, the top of the bone and my hip socket sculpted, and then put back in place. Let me tell you, it was not a fun thing to look forward to, or live through. In short the procedure corrected some significant pain and discomfort, but required four weeks of very little mobility, time on crutches, and months of physical therapy and strength training recovery.


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Comments 11

Ina Garten as her alter ego, the Barefoot Contessa, toils away in her ostensibly glorious East Hampton kitchen. It's a room which appears on television and in print to walk the fine line between a casual cook's ultra functional aesthetic daydream and a professional chef's demo kitchen straight from a Nancy Meyers movie set.

Photo Credit: Béatrice de Géa for The New York Times

It's a cold December day. Flurries fall from the sky and softly land atop the partially snow covered wind swept ground while Ina's weathered gray cedar shingle style home glows in the new morning light. Though it may be calm and cool outdoors, Ina's kitchen is warm and a flurry of activity. After all, she's got a dinner party planned for later in the evening and has only herself and a hodgepodge of helpful friends to pull it together. Can she do it? Of course she can, she's the Barefoot Contessa.

Our row house is far from a sprawling ocean-side cottage tucked among the luxe east end of Long Island, but there's no reason why we can't aspire to throw ourselves a little shindig that permits us to channel the best of Ina. In fact, we decided to plan and execute a little neighborhood holiday dinner party to experience first hand the exhausting level of effort necessary to scratch the surface of an Ina Garten inspired event.


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Comments 9

The holidays are squarely upon us, and 'tis the season for gathering with friends and family. Whether you are hosting a family Christmas dinner, having a few neighbors over for a dinner party, or simply dressing up your table to be more festive, creating a beautiful centerpiece doesn't have to be time consuming or expensive.

Alex and I recently hosted a scotch tasting and dinner party at our house during Alexandria's Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend. The weekend celebrates Alexandria's Scottish heritage, as the city was named for Scotsman John Alexander, an original founder of the city and owner of much of its land. The weekend features a festive parade, a holiday tour of homes (here's a look back to when our home was on the tour lineup), a heather and greens sale, and many more yule tide and Scottish inspired festivities. Hands down, it's our favorite weekend of the year in Alexandria, and in our household, officially marks the start of the Christmas season.

Getting ready for the party seemed a bit overwhelming, because it not only meant preparing for a dinner event, but it also meant making sure our home was properly decked out for the holidays. We had a tree to buy and decorate...

...exterior window wreaths to hang...


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Comments 3
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