Month : August 2014

a whole lotta hack jobs

DIY is in full swing as we plan for the new house! Inspired by the too-many-to-count IKEA hacks out there in the blogosphere, we found a few we wanted to try so we could get our custom look, and for a lot less than going top drawer (pun intended!).

Since selling our original bedroom furniture, we have quite literally been living out of laundry baskets as we shopped around for some larger nightstands that could double as a little clothing storage, with lots of drawer space. We found a couple we liked, but didn’t love, and for the prices we were finding, we just couldn’t pull the trigger.



Enter the solid pine, unfinished RAST dresser from Ikea. There are a million hacks of this bad boy, but our favorite is the one pictured above. We love the addition of metal hardware, contrasting top surface color, and the bulked-up trim around the bottom to make it more substantial. We’re changing a few details, but after picking up two of these this week, we’re excited to beef them up and trick them out for our master bedroom.



Page didn’t even know this next project was on my to-do list, so when he pointed out this stool in the store, I was extra excited that he, too, was a fan. The Bekvam step stool is a steal at $15, and I’m already torn between color options to give this piece some personality for use in our kitchen and pantry to reach high-up items (and eventually, help our little guy assist with cooking and baking – aww!).


meg & the martin men


If we had stayed in our first home longer than we did, this project would have likely happened sooner than later in our master bedroom. As it turns out, it’s still happening… in our new digs!

We are SO ready to make a little more organizational sense for the way we like to store our clothing (a.k.a. lots of storage for folded items, at eye level versus digging through floor-level black holes of t-shirts) and this meant opting out of traditional dressers for built-in wardrobes next go-round. We were inspired by this post and a handful of others, who have taken some basic Ikea Pax wardrobe units and tricked them out with real wood doors, trim, and built them into bedroom walls, for extra structural soundness.

with TV


We love that we can get our storage needs met, as well as have a place to set our bedroom TV, like this one from Houzz, and leave a lot of wide open space rather than fill it with lots of furniture.

The beauty of building a home is that you can move into something move-in ready…assuming you want to pay for it all. 🙂 A master wardrobe wall was one of the items we had on our “wish list” for the builder, but we just couldn’t get okay with the price. Not that it was totally unreasonable, but we felt it was a manageable-sized project and one we’d rather take on personally to save ourselves a few grand in the long-run (or put toward something else we COULDN’T do ourselves elsewhere in the house).

So after a marathon session in the wardrobe corner of IKEA, we came home with any and all of the components that would fit in our car, and an online order in hand, for the rest of it. With the basic assembly of two 39″ wide wardrobes (his and hers) in place, Page will build a center section to house the TV and some open decorative shelving, and trim it all out to match the trim in the room. I’m SO excited to see the finished product, and to finally have a place (OTHER than a laundry basket or two!) to house everything from yoga pants to evening bags, and everything in between. You guys. I’ll have a divided drawer JUST for belts. It doesn’t get any better.

Bring on the DIY!

construction update!



For all the delays we encountered getting this build STARTED, things are looking up as we’ve progressed through these first two weeks. The weather has cooperated, and the crews have been lightning fast as the lot was excavated, footings put in, and foundation poured!

I’m out of town this week for work, but Page grabbed some pics on his phone tonight — here’s a shot of our future basement living area!


Next up, the foundation has to fully cure for a few days, then FRAMING can commence! Woo hoo, we are so beyond excited to finally be seeing this dream we’ve been planning for months, actually start to happen.

planning for the laundry room.


Just past the mudroom/entry will be our laundry room. This is another area I’m stoked about, NOT because I love to do laundry, but I feel good about some decisions we made to make this space efficient and most useful. A clothes chute will open into this room from the upstairs landing area (in hopes that it’s easy to train a kiddo to throw dirty clothes down!) and a pass-through to our master bath on the main level will be cut out as well, with the same concept in mind (easy!).

The above photo is from another build by DreamScape. We have not made a final decision about putting a granite counter in this space, or going a more built-in, painted, route as seen above. We will have our washer/dryer from our last laundry room, and I’d like to add a utility cart  like this one for catching all the laundry from the chute/pass-through.


I have a scrap of laundry themed fabric I bought on Etsy forever ago, and might stick a swatch in a frame, and add some bright quote canvases, just to make this room a little more fun to spend time in. A few matching bins for stray socks, wash supplies, and all the goodies I pull out of pockets pre-wash will be the final touches. Love the personality of this laundry room below, over at The DIY Playbook!

The DIY Playbook

planning for the mudroom / entry.

We’ve barely started construction, but if our last build taught me anything, it’s to plan ahead and have your decisions made for when the times comes to implement.

Add to that the fact that the completion of our house will happen either right BEFORE or right AFTER a newborn enters our life, and I’m doing my best to get any thinking/planning/purchasing/deciding done NOW while I have my wits about me.

So let’s start at the beginning…aka our mudroom/entry off the garage. This is one of the spaces I’m most excited about  — a space we did not have (and longed for) in our last home.


The above photo is taken from another build by our our builder, DreamScape, and gives an idea of the locker style we will have in this entry off the garage. The main tweak to the version above will be the addition of a “charger station” incorporated into these built-ins — a row of slots to store sunglasses and keys, and with outlet access to charge phones and other gadgets.

One of my to-dos is to find some colorful bins for those shelves to hold hats/gloves/umbrellas and more. I also need to find a couple slide-out boot trays to stash shoes underneath. Hallelujah – a place out of the way to kick off our shoes!

chalkboard wall

In this same area, we will have a magnetic chalkboard wall painted, like the one above. I’m going to have to work on my chalkboard art skills – I can’t believe how many Pinterest boards out there are dedicated just to cool sayings/doodles people have drawn on theirs. So much inspiration!


One of my to-dos here is to spray paint a bunch of magnetic letters and numbers (like these) that I found at discount stores. Rather than cutesey red/blue/yellow/green, I’m going to paint them various metallics for something a little more sophisticated, but still functional (and educational as this baby gets older!).


It will be a while yet until I know if there’s room, but I wouldn’t mind adding something cool like this for dropping incoming and outgoing mail, receipts, and eventually school/day care papers.

can you dig it?


We were ecstatic to find these stakes on our lot on Monday, along with two big diggin’, dirt-pushin’ machines!


It was SUCH a relief to just see things get STARTED already after a series of delays (the loan closing being delayed because the bank was purchased, delays from the city about redrawing the driveway and then testing topsoil, getting on the excavation schedule after a very rainy June when everyone is behind, etc). It was THRILLING to finally see a green light and know this house WILL be built! Someone get this kid a nursery already!


This is when it (finally!) starts to get fun. We keep tackling the lists of decisions, like confirming kitchen layout and cabinet options. The planner in me who knows I’ll either be about to pop, or juggling a newborn when we unpack in this kitchen, actually printed out all the drawings and wrote in what I want to go in each cabinet. Doing anything I can ahead of time…even virtually unpacking! 🙂


And I end with this gem which was IMed to me today from the lot…I’ve never been so happy to see a picture of a construction zone. 🙂 Dig, baby, dig!!!

baby smith’s room.


It started with a mobile, which Page was obsessed with even before we knew if this baby was a boy or girl. We were in Pottery Barn Kids one night, checking out cribs, and he was all about this. I loved the colors. Win-win.

paint swatches

So next up are some paint chips, to get an idea of color scheme. The room won’t be overly large, so I don’t want to dwarf it with dark wall colors. I had thought about asking the nursery be painted a light aqua/mint color, regardless of boy or girl, and using it as my base for either palette. Page thinks it’s girly and a lot of what he keeps calling “baby blue”. We’ll see how that all shakes out. 🙂 Meanwhile, we’ve picked out a dresser


and a crib


…and our glider..

img46o…and some odds and ends to bring splashes of color into the room…83729e767f6c3c82894f8f0216f2ecc2 b48e737eed77925118fa4e85aede62c8 d06da549ca758a1d70f057198272d295  (Bins from Land of Nod, pillow from West Elm)

There’s no room to stash much right now, but that somehow has not stopped me from beginning to collect things — a cool navy sailboat blueprint canvas, a striped blue/navy/white bin to hold wipes and diapers on a changing table, and of course adding some fun decor pieces to our registry!

Switching gears, I’m trying to lump some baby info together in fewer posts so it doesn’t TAKE OVER the blog. For anyone following along and posting their own versions, here is my monthly rundown of pregnancy stats (and a plea for someone to clean that dirty bathroom mirror!) 🙂

17.5 weeks

How far along: 17.5 weeks
Gender: BOY!!!
Weight gain:   None – Eating more now, but still down about 3-4 pounds from where I started
Maternity clothes: Some under-belly cropped leggings, but otherwise just stretchy waistband pants/skirts, and lots of dresses
Stretch marks: No – but I’ve started the cocoa butter bedtime routine!
Belly button in or out: in
Sleep: falling asleep quickly but waking up to pee at least once a night
Best moment:  sharing our 16 week u/s with the grandparents, learning we have a SON on the way
Worst moment: having our build pushed back yet another week, this time because of city permitting (sigh)
Miss anything: red wine
Movement: not yet – anxious to feel these “flutters” I keep hearing about
Cravings: any and all dairy – milk, chocolate milk, yogurt, cottage cheese
Queasy or sick:  400% better than during the first twelve weeks – and more energy all day long!
Looking forward to: 20-week ultrasound, shopping in Chicago later this month! 🙂

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preparing for our little adventure.

Adventure Gift

He’s not here yet. But the reality is quickly sinking in. I’m thrilled and at the same time, I am feeling like I have so much to learn from this little person. I grew up with brothers, and have learned a good bit more being married to a guy ha, but I know a lot of my education in boys will come as we parent this little guy. I’m finding myself reading blogs and ordering a book or two — not for literal “how to” information, but more for some narratives to help me think about what’s ahead and what I want for this little boy/future man.

“I’m still going to read them “Anne of Green Gables,” because they need to know about strong female characters (like their mother). They are still going to have to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with me so they can see what a wonderful character George Bailey is. I want sons like George Bailey — sons who make good, close friendships and who can dream big dreams and who fall in love.

As I raise my children, I am forever conscious that I am raising little men. I want them to be men who take responsibility, who aren’t afraid of commitments and who thrill to the thought of a challenge or an adventure. I want them to be both spontaneous and thorough. I want them to be able to cry and show emotion. I want them to love and be loved.”

-Lisa Belkin [excerpt from article on mothering boys versus girls]

I’m SO excited to welcome a son — I had a teeny hunch from the beginning that he was indeed a HE, and when I found out for sure, I was even more excited than I expected to be. For me. For Page. For our growing family.

My very first thought was what a lucky little boy to have a dad like Page to show him by example, everything from strong work ethic, to how to play fair, to putting your full energy and enthusiasm behind endeavors you take on.

golf buddy

My second thought was, “who says mamas of boys don’t get to buy pink?”. 😉 There’s this only semi-true myth that girls are more fun to shop for.

My VISA card begs to differ.

pink for boys


I’m excited for little boy snuggles. And superhero capes. And laughter and loud noise. And even dirt.

We ate dinner with friends the other night and after his mom told a joke, their 3-year-old son laughed and asked, “Do you want to hear that joke in my mouth?!” haha. We of course laughed just as hard when he told it, again. I can’t wait for funny moments like that.

how do you tuck in a superhero

As we put together our registry, I laughed at the reality of what my world will soon become. Things like Piddlers made the list (for those like me who were unaware, these flushable targets are thrown into the potty to teach “aim” ha!).

In the meantime, we are clearing space in our tiny digs to make room for what we can, fully aware that we will likely bring our son home to a one-bedroom apartment we selected before we even knew he was on the way. Hoping to report on THAT adventure (the house!) very soon!