Before and After

Black, white and chic DIY chair makeover

Victoria's chic black and white lattice print DIY armchair My friend and co-worker Victoria is stylish and absolutely gorgeous!  She's one of those people who always looks great. So, it came as no surprise when I stumbled upon one of her DIY projects the other day and it was as trendy and chic as she is.

Victoria got the shabby old chair from her neighbor's trash.  It has great bones, but was ugly, dark and seriously needed new upholstery. She freshened it up with a coat of white paint, then picked a striking black and white lattice print for the fabric. The end result is a stunning statement piece that I'd love to put in my own home!

If you'd like to see more of Victoria's projects, follow her on Instagram at LoveByLam

Blow-In Attic Insulation: READ BEFORE YOU DIY!


Me and the love of my life, the Meyer Model 220 The upstairs of our house has always been terribly hot and a quick peek inside our upper attic explained why.  It barely had any insulation... and between some rafters... it didn't have any at all!  After getting a few astronomical quotes, we decided to tackle the project ourselves.  Of course, Joe decided this on the hottest day of the year.  Fun!

When you buy the eco-friendly cellulose fiber blow-in insulation from Home Depot, they loan you the blower.  I AM WARNING YOU NOW.  WALK AWAY FROM THE BLOWER!!

Unfortunately we didn't do that.

Now may be the time to remind you that it was noon... on the hottest day of the year.  After lugging the machine up to our lower roof and setting everything up, we spent hours upon hours upon hours battling the damn thing.  No matter what we tried, it just wouldn't blow out fast enough.

So we gave up, returned it to Home Depot and got a new one.  With high hopes, we lugged the machine BACK up to our lower roof, set everything BACK up and spent even longer battling the damn thing.  No matter what we tried, it still wouldn't blow out fast enough.

In an effort to save our sanity and marriage, we quit.

A few weekends later with cooler weather and calmer nerves, we rented a professional unit from Sunbelt.  It's called the Meyer Model 220 and it's MAGIC!  It's AMAZING!  It's INCREDIBLE!  It was strong enough to use on the ground, it was easier to operate, and in 2 hours, we blew roughly 35 bags of insulation into the attic.  It took 2 days to blow in just 5 bags with the horrible Home Depot blowers!!!

Our upstairs is now cool, comfortable and more importantly, our marriage is still intact.

So, if you'd like to try it yourself (which I highly recommend), here are a few tips...

  • Make sure your hoses are clamped nice and tight.
  • Give the machine some time to warm up and only start with a handful of insulation.
  • Don't overfill the machine.  One bag at a time.
  • Break up the insulation a bit as you fill the machine.
  • Wear goggles and a mask!  If you're in the attic, wear a full respirator.
  • Avoid any sharp turns in the hose.
  • Fill to at least the top of the rafters, but feel free to add more.
  • Buy more insulation than you think you'll need.  It'll save you a trip to the store if you run out.
  • Start early and pick a cool day.
  • Lay a piece of wood across the rafters to lay on.
  • Wear a headlamp to see what you're doing.


Cellulose blow-in insulation in attic

Insulation selfie

Shabby Chic Kitchen Renovation, BEFORE and AFTER

  New cabinet finish, counters and backsplash

It's amazing to think that our kitchen renovation is finally done!  We've been enjoying the finished product for about 6 months now, but with baby Beau hogging my free time, I just now got around to taking some AFTER pictures.  The kitchen renovation was a much longer process than I ever anticipated.  I started in earnest while Joey deployed last year to Afghanistan.  We didn't finish until he returned.

I'm incredibly proud to say we did every ounce of work ourselves, with the exception of fabricating and installing the granite counters and an emergency visit from a plumber when not once, but TWICE, my below-sink plumbing exploded!  Here's a list of the improvements we made (with links if you'd like to check out the original posts), along with the before-and-after photos.  I still can't believe it's ALL OURS and it's ALL DONE!

Knowing the amount of blood, sweat and tears that went into this project, makes us enjoy the end result more than I ever could have imagined.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

XOXO, Anne

Kitchen renovation AFTER:

Kitchen renovation BEFORE:


A Place for Beau


Baby Beauregard finally has a place to call home.  This December, when I went into labor 7 weeks early, we were knee deep in nursery renovations.  The floors were unfinished.  The wainscoting was incomplete.  The furniture was in boxes.

Between trips to the NICU, late night feedings and diapers changes, we've managed to finally finish Beau's safari-inspired escape.  And I hope he loves it as much as we do!

Inspiration came from a Restoration Hardware photo I found online.  We purchased the basic furniture from RH, then mixed in an antique chair and luggage, whimsical lighting, a soft cotton rug, handmade wreath (my neighbor Whitney is a genius), plenty of cozy stuffed animals, along with custom draperies and linens (thanks, mom!).

I know that Joe, Beau and I will make countless special memories as we curl up in the leather chair, read books and sing songs for many happy years to come.

DIY Rope Tiebacks

Rope tie backs 06 I saw the most amazing pair of rope curtain tiebacks on an HGTV show the other day.  I happened to notice the designer pulled them out of a Restoration Hardware box, so I promptly went online, only to have my heart instantly broken.  They were $79... EACH!  I need 6 total for the living and dining rooms and $480 for curtain tiebacks is just out of the question.  Instead, I decided to make them myself!

I bought 1" thick manila rope from Home Depot and got the sales associate to cut it into 18" sections (a little batting of the eyelashes helped get the job done).  Then I bought 2 nickel-plated rings, 1/4" thin manila rope and a decorative wall hook for each tieback.  I started by attaching the ring.  I wrapped a small piece of of the thin rope around the end and hot glued into place.  Then, I wrapped the thin rope around the 1" rope 8 times to sufficiently cover that piece.  Again, I used hot glue and found that clamps helped keep everything in place.  Finally, I secured my decorative hook to the wall, roughly 1/2" from the edge of the moulding around the window.

Voila!  For less $10 per curtain panel, I have a rustic rope tieback that rivals any of the more expensive versions at Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn or Ballard Designs!