June 12, 2014

Summer Home Tour

Hi there and welcome!  If this is your first time here, my name is Courtney and I love all things related to home, especially DIY.  My husband, Billy, and I have learned lots by renovating 3 houses by ourselves and we like to share our ideas as well as some of the mistakes we have made along the way.  We have 3 growing boys and 2 Golden Retrievers so everything we do to our home needs to be able to withstand the abuse of everyday life in our family.

Our home is a split level in a NJ suburb of NYC (it takes us about 20 minutes to get to the city).  We dream of living in a farmhouse in the country someday where life moves at a slower pace, but for now we need to stay here.  Hence, the need for the diy projects to attempt to add charm to our house.
When you enter our front door, you step into our small entryway/foyer.  I recently wrote a post about our diy stairway runner here.
You can read more about our affordable entryway makeover here.
Our family room is right off of the entryway, through these french doors.  
Our Family Room was a project we completed several years ago.  We enlarged the space, added a stone fireplace and a mudroom, installed a new triple slider and added hardwood flooring.  This is our favorite space to hang out in as a family.
Our mudroom is a space we carved out from the family room and it just might have been the smartest thing we've done in this house.  We used some off the shelf pieces from Ikea to create a more custom look in this space.  You can read more about that project here.
These stairs lead up to the kitchen/dining/living level of our house.
Our kitchen is the hub of our house.  We added the Thomasville cabinets and farm sink ourselves about 5 years ago.
The divider between our Kitchen and Living Room used to be a wall, but we took that down and created an island using some Billy bookshelves from Ikea.  This gave us more storage on the Kitchen side, and bar height seating on the Living Room side.
We recently removed our over the range microwave and replaced it with a DIY mantel hood including a built in exhaust fan.  You can find a tutorial about that project here.

We removed the non load bearing wall between our Kitchen and Dining Room soon after we moved in.  Now, it is all one open space, which works much better for our decidedly un-formal family.

The Living Room is also open to the Kitchen.  
We recently "hacked" this coffee table to give it a more custom look.
A view of our Kitchen from the Living Room and the other side of our Billy bookcase island/divider.
These barstools were a recent and very affordable find from the Target Threshold line.
Our Master Bedroom level is our place to get away from all the crazy that is happening in the rest of the house.
Master Bedroom with Pottery Barn quilt and chalkboard
We diy'd our Master Bathroom for just under $7,000 last year.  You can find a lost of our sources here.
Master Bathroom diy, carrera marble, built ins, pedestal
I love adding peonies from our garden when they bloom in early summer.  They fill the whole bathroom with their amazing scent and add a nice pop of color to the mostly white space.
Heading outside, we like to relax under our covered patio on hot summer days.
And cool off in our swimming pool.
Thanks so much for stopping by.  We hope to see you again soon!


  1. You have such an inviting home Courtney! I love seeing all the rooms together in this tour. You have done such a fabulous job decorating every single space!

  2. Courtney.....thank you so much. Your home is so warm and inviting...I just love it. Crazy question.....your interior doors (pictured near stairs) our so pretty...are those custom or did you purchase them off the to speak....we are looking and I just love yours!

    1. Thank you!! Our doors are pre-hung, solid core JeldWen doors in a Craftsman style and we special ordered them from Home Depot. We ordered them at the Special Orders desk and they arrived at our local Home Depot in under 2 weeks.

  3. Love seeing your house, but have a question (since I know you have Golden Retrievers). Are those real wood floors or ??. I am asking since my husband says he doesn't want wood (or laminate) flooring due to Golden Retriever toe nails scraping so we still have carpet (except for the kitchen). Thanks!

    1. Hi,

      Thanks so much for your compliments about our home. Yes, we have real wood floors and yes, we have 2 Goldens. We did a lot of research before installing these floors. In our last house, we had oak hardwood floors that were original to that house and they were a natural color. They did not hold up well at all. They were a nightmare to keep clean and full of scratches. We had to have them refinished every few years.

      I do not think any other flooring looks or feels like wood does so we were determined to find a solution. In this house, we started with one room with our current flooring. It held up beautifully so we kept going with it. They are now 5 years old and we are still happy with them. Our floors are 5 inch hand scraped oak made by Shaw’s and the color is Vintage Hazelnut. We purchased them at Lowes. I am not sure if they still carry our exact floors. I think the most important things to keep in mind are to get a somewhat distressed finish so that scratches aren’t as noticeable. Also, a medium color seems to work the best with Golden fur :) One last thing, in our experience, the factory finish that comes on pre-finished hardwood flooring holds up much better to scratches from dog’s nails than the finish that you get when you have someone come into your home to do them on site.

      Hope that helps!

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