Hellos and Goodbyes

1980s Contemporary – 2018 MLS Listing Photo

1980s Contemporary – 2018 MLS Listing Photo

Ok, ok. I know you are all wondering…so what does this upstate NY 1980s Contemporary house look like? (Look up! It looks like that!) What did the central NJ 1950s Colonial look like? (Scroll on down!)  I got as far as showing the before and afters of the NJ dining room, and a few holiday pics of the family room, living room, and office from the NJ house waaaay back in 2014 and then I disappeared from the internet. We loved and worked really hard on that colonial in NJ. But life changes and when we had it about 85% complete to where we wanted it, we realized it was time to move for personal reasons.

 The 1950s Colonial in Spring 2014 – MLS Listing Photo 

1950s Colonial in Spring 2018 – MLS Listing Photo

So, I thought it would be fun to finally document the old house and introduce the new house in tandem, room by room. While these houses are wildly different it’s fun to see how our furniture and decor has fit into each home. Some stuff fit in seamlessly. Other stuff still needs some tweaking. And I’ll talk about the things that I wish we would’ve gotten around to in the old house before we sold it. Plus I think we’ve had enough time where I can look back on the NJ pictures fondly. It was a bittersweet move, but the right move by all accounts. Look at those before and afters!

And yes, I’ll finally get into the whole house crisis of 2016, and you can finally understand or at least appreciate my PTSD with water in houses. Not to spoil the surprise, but guess what, something similar already happened in the our new home too, literally 4 days into owning it. They don’t call us the Waters family for nothing, apparently! The irony that we named our kids gods of thunder in different cultures is not lost on me either. I think there is a joke about immersion (submersion?) therapy somewhere in there too…

How’s that for a teaser post?  😀


One Room Challenge Fall 2018 Superlatives

Ok, one more post on the One Room Challenge Fall 2018!! It is HUMBLING to flip through all of the final posted featured and guest participants. There is so much creativity and plain good design out there. So many tastes that I know might not work in my current home, so now I need to buy 6 more homes so I can replicate these ideas and spaces for myself.

I thought it would be fun to do a little superlative on some of my favorites so far. With 235 finals linked up, I’m still going through them! And if you haven’t gone directly to the page yet, you can find me at lucky number 206 – this is what happens when you link up 3 days after a deadline – oh well!

In no particular order:

Favorite new-to-me blog “voice” (and yes, her easy MCM aesthetic helps me love her even more):


Favorite kitchen that could basically be mine (white, brass, black, wicker, colored island, it’s basically my NJ kitchen):


Favorite use of graffiti (because GRAFFITI!):


Favorite boho – mod – parisian vibe mix (that ceiling medallion and chandy with the modern pieces!!):


Best use of a REAL TREE in a bedroom (and a new instagram friendship!):


Brightest basement/best use of that support column (basically everything my basement is not, ha):


Favorite embrace-ment of wood paneling (you know I’ve got a soft spot for this stuff!):


Favorite faux brick wall (can I rent this space on AirBnB please?):


Favorite room that led to a new podcast to listen to (and she recently did a retreat in my hometown!):


Most creative use of a space (talk about goals, people):


Ugh I could keep going. But I’m gonna stop. But I could keep going!! Go spread some comment love if you love any of these as much as I do.

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Budget Home Theater – The Budget-Baller Reveal {ORC Fall 2018: Week 6}

Yay!! The Six Week One Room Challenge is complete! I finished a few days late waiting on some packages…and we are still waiting on the rest of our sectional (that we ordered in August!!)…but this room is happily functioning exactly the way we envisioned!

If you’ve landed here from the One Room Challenge, Welcome! We’ve just purchased an 80’s contemporary home in Upstate NY that just needs a little TLC to bring her back to her former glory.  

Let’s take it way back to a mere 6 weeks ago, where this space started. We had a speaker system and a cozy nook of our new-to-us, semi-finished basement. Let’s just buy a projector, screen and couch and be done, right? Right.


Fixing a kitchen sink issue led to fixing some potentially major drainage issues outside the house. I cannot extol my praise of gutter extenders enough. When we first plugged in 2 dehumidifiers a few weeks back, this room was at 80%+ humidity and it felt like it.  Now it is set to 60% and usually hovers at 50%, ALMOST rendering the dehumidifiers useless (we would never risk getting rid of them).


We gave new life to some tables, a chandelier, and old curtains we were no longer using. We finally made a decision on artwork (we finally went nostalgic 80s – it was a major nailbiter). We thrifted. We bought some new stuff. We made some changes as things came together and we even impressed ourselves a bit with how cozy this little area has become.

We talked about the ‘budget’ a bit. Throughout this I thought to myself, will this space be a place we really use? Are we spending too much? Are we not spending enough? Will we regret not going all out with stadium seating and adding drywall to make this a separate room and maybe buying more new than used items? GUYS. I am so happy to report that I truly feel like we found a nice happy medium for ourselves. BUDGET-BALLER, as Tom likes to call it. There are not a lot of inspiration out there of a room that functions quite like this but didn’t cost an arm and leg and another arm and another leg. Go ahead, search pinterest. It’s a step up from just an extra TV area. It feels like an EVENT to sit down here, for us and for the kids. I really feel like we created something special here that we can be proud of and thoroughly enjoy. I’m going to enjoy this moment, because I don’t do it often enough (a little more on that here, if you’d like).

Blah blah blah. Enough chatting! On to the final-ish pics!


Some last minute changes occurred as the room was pulling together, as per usual. Last week my brother was over and mentioned the space between the two curtains looked empty above the screen. I had just {poorly} hemmed and trimmed a pair of the curtains, and realized the trimmed part made a pretty perfect valance, but the top hem lines were off due to the tabs that the curtains were currently hanging from. So I grabbed the extra pair, turned them upside down, and hung everything from the original bottom hem with a new single rod that spanned the 112 inches we needed. It works for me!

Tom really wanted this shot of Lo-Pan to be in the background of a photo

The original pair of curtains got attached to the back wall with the extra 18 inch rods we now had leftover.  It was very much a “will they/won’t they work” moment. My brother and Tom were skeptical, but I put them up anyway and it really gave it that extra coziness it needed, and cleaned up the paint line that differentiates this space from the rest of the room.

Next we knew, that back wall was screaming for some artwork. Tom wanted a light up marquee, but
with time running out and our pockets a little exhausted, I realized we had a chalkboard with an ornate gold frame in my craft room just collecting dust. It’s kind of perfect, right? Here’s to shopping your house, amIright?


I did it. I bought the popcorn maker and bulk kernels, coconut oil, and flavacol. Per the internet this is all you need. Yes, that is microwaved popcorn in my styled shot because right now the photos are more important the trying out my new toy. Once we really had the cozy factor going last weekend I was convinced we will be using this space often enough to warrant this purchase. How much fun is this going to be for the kids as they get older and have friends over? I’ll let you know how the popcorn maker actually works after our next movie night on IG.


The pillow, blankets, baskets, and random table tchotckes were all shopped from other rooms in our house. I didn’t want to go full movie memorabilia in here, but a few can’t hurt, right? It you have any questions, let me know and I can try to find links.


There is a sentimental secret inside this copy of Harry Potter – if you’d like to see. Golden snitch, as you do.



What did I miss? Anything you want more information on? As always, a HUGE thank you to Linda for creating such a fun, inclusive, and positive group experiment. Thank you to featured and guest participants for joining in, and the sponsors for keeping this going and making becoming a featured sponsor something worth working towards!  Check back next week for some of my favorites. Maybe I’ll see everyone again for the Spring 2019 challenge 🙂