Keeping this post quick, but couldn't let the weekend start without getting you links to all the open houses going on around the Valley! So many good ones. Did you see the house I posted on Instagram yesterday?!? So good!!
Of all my apps I might spend the most on Zillow, scrolling through home after home. In these last days of being pregnant, when I don't sleep much, well I'm scrolling away. I love when I find an awesome listing and thought I'd share a few favorites with you here today.
This first one is in Phoenix and it's listed by Evan Boxwell with Call Realty. This one is brand new construction within an established neighborhood...right next to the canal and The Orchard (one of my favorite local places to eat!).
For full listing details, head here...but I think this will be one I have to go and walk!
This next one is in an amazing neighborhood in Mesa, has an incredible backyard space AND the best part, it's been re-done. There is not a lot of inventory in Mesa that has been re-done, so this one is a real gem. It's listed by Scott Perkinson with Perkinson Properties.
For all the listing details head here
This last one, I've walked and it's as amazing as it looks. New construction in the heart of Arcadia, it even boasts some amazing views. Listed by Lara Broadrick with Sotheby's.
To see the full tour head here, but tell me first which is your favorite?!?
Done. it's finally done. Well except for capping a few electrical lines & tying out the doorbell so it ding-dongs...right now it just dings. Perhaps that's how all renovation projects go, where it's done...except for this last lagging detail that seems to take an extra week or two. If this is your first read of the reno project, catch up here and here first. Today, I've got all the snaps from the upstairs space. Tomorrow, I'll give you all of the downstairs. In the photo above I'm standing where there once was no floor, looking into what used to be the loft, but is now a bedroom.
Here it is from the other angle. You'll notice that slightly awkward pop in the corner -- I wish to bits we could have pushed that corner out, to follow the other walls & pick up that square footage upstairs, but had I done that, you wouldn't have been able to make it up the stairs...which are rising directly under that portion. I had all sorts of clever work arounds to make it appear like we had picked it up, by building a window seat so that is stair stepped on the backside, but was flush upstairs. While that would have worked, in the end I like this better & it doesn't bother me like I thought it would. For reference the stairs are behind the TV wall.
We still have a few things to do to the space -- like mount the TV and add hardware to the cabinetry, but for now, we are calling this our stopping point. Mostly so I can have a baby in peace! I got this cabinet piece at a local store called Potato Barn. I don't know that it's the least expensive place, but I do know its not the most expensive either. They have a fairly big range of items and if you caught my West Elm dilemma on Instagram, you'll understand why I'll probably buy more local down the road as opposed to ordering online. In the event you didn't catch the West Elm debacle...I ordered a sleeper sofa 3 months ago to use downstairs while I recover from a C-Section next week. I had heard great reviews and was excited to get it. Problem is, it has been 3 months & still no couch, despite dozens of emails, dozens of calls and what my son says, me going 'mom jeans' on the Customer Service rep. #truestory After all the angst and putting me right down to the wire without another great solution (I can't get up and down my stairs for a bit after surgery) it's soured my experience just a tad. Supposedly, it will be here tomorrow, but I've heard that 3 times before. I'll keep you posted! Buying local, I went down found 10 pieces I liked, measured them all, opened the doors, saw the colors, took photos, then came home & measured out a few into my space. Went back to the store with all that info, bought this one & had it delivered the next day. I think I'll go with that option down the road.
The couch we had in our previous loft. During the reno we stored it in our garage and just crossed our fingers it would work in the new space. While I would have reversed the chaise and the return portion of the couch, it fits like a dream, so I'm calling it a win. Phew. Love when things like that just work. We ordered this couch from a local spot as well -- and it was definitely afforadable. Cortate is where I go when I'm looking to keep it simple and affordable. With this being a kid space, I wasn't about to put my dream sofa up here. I don't remember the name of this particular sofa, but it's their most popular one & the only thing I would have done differently is made the cushions box-cut instead of knife-edged. It would have made it look a bit more tailored, which I prefer. At Cortate, you order from catalogs, not the easiest, but you can customize your piece exactly for you room -- so we were able to choose the exact layout & fabric, etc.
Phase two, will not only include mounting the TV, but also this big sparse wall above the couch. I have plans for it, but again, we had to have a stopping point. I'm thinking a long natural wood shelf with layers of photos & artwork. I have a few in my shopping carts, but again...stopping. The pillows and throws are nothing fancy -- again this is my kids' space & I refuse to buy $100 pillows. I actually refuse to buy them for my own space because I think it's ridiculous, so Home Goods to the rescue. They aren't show stoppers by any means, but they are great for pillow fights, forts and snuggling up for movie night, which is actually the purpose of the space.
Overall, this was the best idea we've ever had. The space has been used so much and allows us the room to grow a bit more & I'm so grateful for the opportunity to do it.
Top pins for the week this week did not disappoint! This bathroom though...I can't get enough. See all the bathroom pins here. As always, click on the photo to be taken to the source.
I've been mapping out a large gallery wall for our newly renovated entry way, so naturally I had to pull some inspiration from Pinterest. You can see all the gallery walls I was loving here.
We've moved every single person's bedroom around with this renovation as well -- I'm pretty sure this is why they say renos aren't for the faint of heart. One space includes a shared room -- which I love. Currently my two sharing have bunk beds, which we needed in our old house because the shared bedroom was lacking in size. In this new space though, the bunks aren't needed & while my top-bunk sleeper will be sad, soon I'm hoping to have side-by-side twin beds, kind of like these. You can see all my inspo ideas for shared spaces here.
Weekend Open Houses
And for those of you that love walking houses as much as I do, here are the lists of weekend open houses going on across the Valley. If you haven't used these links before, I break each list into different cities, then they are sorted by price, so you can find what you're looking for fairly quickly. Once you find a property you want to walk, click on the 'open house' tab at the top right to see the date & time of the open house...and be sure to let me know if you find a gem!
Chandler || Gilbert || Mesa || Phoenix || Scottsdale
Weekend Sale Picks
Annnnd since it's the weekend...a few weekend sales picks! Literally every Kate Spade bag is on sale currently at Nordstrom...so of course I had to pick a couple faves.
A quick list of fairly random things from the week. Today's includes 3 things on my mind, in my shopping cart & on my screen.
On My Screen:
This is Us. Did you watch last week's episode? The mother/daughter one? It stopped me in my tracks as I could recognize some similarities in my relationship with my own mom, but moreso in my relationship with this girl. Why is the mother/daughter relationship so complicated? Is it because we are so similar to each other? Not sure, but I've spent more time this week praising instead of scolding. I wish I could tell you I have this one figured out, but nope, not at all.
Survivor. I realize I might still be the only one watching this, but its a show all my kids enjoy as well & I don't worry too much about the plot line going astray and having to explain things I don't want to explain right now. I don't have any favorites yet, but I can tell you that Alan has got to go. What is with the crazy eyes?!? I don't think I could sleep on that island with that guy near about. And Patrick. He had no idea that was going down and the shift in his demeanor had us all laughing.
American Housewife. My friend told me about this one a couple months ago & I finally got it recording, It's a quick 20 minutes and always has both me and my husband rolling. I think we've all had the same thoughts as her and sometimes I wish I had the guts to say them out load more often.
On My Mind:
Three thoughts I saved from the good ol' gram this week.
1. "There is no need to be perfect to inspire others...let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections." -- Robert Tew
2. "The people that are crazy enough to thing they can change the world are the ones who do." -- Steve Jobs
3. "Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." -- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
In My Shopping Cart:
I'm so ready for this baby to get here. Did you hear that he is already weighing in at a whopping 8lbs and I've supposedly got another 2 weeks to go before my scheduled c-section? Ugh. I'm hoping to get that moved up a week, otherwise I might be bringing home a 10lb baby. For the record, the bigger the baby the rougher that surgery becomes & I've got my fingers and toes crossed that they take that into consideration. But until then, I'm looking forward to comfy sleeps & active sneaks.
We are getting towards the finish line of this pregnancy and as such, the nursery is ALMOST done. Just a few more last minute things & it will be complete. It was a little tricky trying to get it all put together in addition to the renovation. Most of the time during the reno, it was a holding tank for other furniture! Luckily we already had most of the pieces, so it came together quickly. But before I post that, I thought I'd give a you few spaces that inspired my thoughts this 4th time around.
Mostly, I like to keep my kids' bedrooms fairly simple, functional, but simple. I tend to gravitate towards clean spaces without too much clutter. In a nursery, I tend to design more towards what I want, since I'm the one that actually spends a decent amount of time in the space! Over time, I've learned I'm slow to hang things on my walls and prefer a minimal palette as opposed to an overly layered one. Soft colors, warm spaces. All of these spaces did that for me -- click on the image to be taken to the source.
Whether or starting from scratch with baby No. 1 or hopping on the bandwagon again with baby No. 4 you can begin to get your nursery together or add to it here, with these pieces.
The renovation is complete. Well except for a stair nose piece we're waiting on & crown molding in the entry way, it's complete. I'll share final photos of the space soon, but thought it was time for a quick catch up here on all that's happened. I have shown what I can on stories, but it's been in bits & pieces, so today, a full recap.
This was where we started from, a two-story entryway with lots of railing.
When you came up the stairs it opened up into what was our loft. In this photo we had already removed the couch & TV set up & began transitioning it into a shared bedroom space. If you look close you can see the electrical outlets on the left hand side where the TV was mounted. The couch sat on the right hand wall.
Standing in the 'before' loft, you'd look out onto the open two-story entry way, it was light & bright just how I like it. Although, there was no part of me that was sad to say goodbye to those railings...all it takes is finding your 3-year-old on the OUTSIDE of them once. That's another story for another day, but I will tell you that it was by the grace of God I found him before he was across the whole thing & I didn't sleep for a few nights as my mind ran through everything that could have gone so wrong. So goodbye railings! One less thing to worry about with another boy about to make his debut.
The first step was putting up a bedroom wall where the loft had been. We worked with Treehouse Group on all the contracting for this job & this was our main crew. I can't tell you how much I love Juan. He was prompt, made my kids laugh & cleaned up before they left. A win in my book.
Once the bedroom wall was up, we moved on to framing out the deck, at least that's what the crew called it. This is the new loft space. My boys could have stood there all day, and mostly did. If I'm being honest, I could have too...it was fascinating to watch them build such a something from nothing. Can you tell it was red day at school for Max? hahaha...down to his socks he definitely nailed it.
Downstairs, this was the part I was most anxious about: the new ceiling height. I hated removing the 2-story entry, because it really was beautiful, but you know me, I'll almost always pick function, assuming it's not an eyesore. It felt pretty heavy with just the framing, but I knew once it was drywalled, we'd be okay. I might have run to my friend's house with the same ceiling height we were going to finish out at to make sure I'd like it. Believe it or not, they had all the faming done in one day.
Then we had to wait for an inspection from the CIty of Mesa. You can definitely do projects like this without permitting them, BUT I definitely would not recommend it. The whole basis for this project was that we'd get all our money back on resale.
If you read my last insta post, you'll know that we were doing this entire renovation while the option of moving out of state was firmly on the table. So as all this was going on, we were flying to San Antonio looking at potential new houses. A few close friends were aware of the circumstances & might have been scratching their heads at why we were renovating if there was a real possibility we'd have to sell it soon. The reason was pretty simple. On resale, say I could get about $140 a sq ft -- to build this addition was much less than $140 a sq ft, so in reality we were adding to our bottom line in the event we had to sell it in 6 months. Good news is, we DON'T have to sell it in 6 months & instead, get to enjoy our investment for quite a bit.
Moral of the story: always permit your projects so you can count the additional square footage on resale AND run the numbers before you make the investment. If you're not sure how to do that, email me. I've done lots of consults for people & would be happy to sit down with you too.
After we passed inspection it was on to drywall, mudding & texture. This was BY FAR the messiest & dustiest part of the project. I literally still have dust in cracks & crevices in my house. They hung the drywall, taped it, then sanded it. Then they mudded the texture onto the walls. Let it dry & you guessed it, sanded it again. We're still a bit of a dusty mess over here, but I've got a cleaning crew scheduled to come in next week & give this old girl a good scrub before the baby gets here.
By this point my kids had gotten used to the mess and chaos & worked around it. I actually think they enjoyed all the activity going on.
Seeing the ceiling drywalled was a huge relief at this point. I finally knew it was going to feel like a cave. Phew.
I'd give you photos of the upstairs, but I literally could not get up the stairs. They had scaffolding all set up in order to get that tall wall along the staircase & well, this pregnant body was not crawling through that. Feel free to visual that & laugh.
It was loud, dusty & a bit chaotic. Crews always started at 6 am and while I thought it would drive me crazy, by this point I could see the end & instead I was just so excited it was turning out like I had hoped.
After drywall, texture and paint, it was time for electrical again. I loved my entry light before, but it was way too big to use in this lower ceiling-ed place. So I turned to my friends over at Lamps Plus & found these. Did you help vote on Instagram stories??? One of the more difficult things about buying a resale (even a beautifully finished resale) is staying in the same lane. While I love the finishes in my home, they aren't always what I would have chosen. During the renovation, there were times I just wanted to pick what I wanted. Instead, I stayed in our lane and now, on the other side I'm really grateful I did. I absolutely love these fixtures and am so glad I didn't introduce the brass option I was considering!
While electrical was going in downstairs, flooring was going in upstairs & if there was a frustrating part to this renovation it was the flooring. Perhaps it was because we were so close we could taste it or that by this point I was 8 mos pregnant, but this is where the meltdown happened.
I'm pretty sure every project has a meltdown moment. Mine happened out front, at 7 am, 8 mos pregnant in a Mexican housedress. My husband was talking with the installers in Spanish, then translating to me, who freaked out back & then he translated my freak out into Spanish. Feel free to visual that.
in hindsight, it was more a lack of communication & us trying to re-align our expectations but AS it was occurring, I thought they were coming to install my flooring that I had ordered 6 weeks prior & that morning they indicated it wasn't a great idea to install it upstairs. So I thought I was going to have to, not only, change my flooring (did NOT want to do this) but also that it would set us back a week or two. I guess by this point I was kind of done.
As it turns out, we just needed to do some additional prep work to the subfloor so that the flooring we wanted would go in smooth. My husband kindly put me away while he sorted it out and they trade showed up & did an awesome job.
The flooring was another place where it was hard for me to stay in the current lane of my house. It's a vinyl product and while I love it (it's literally indestructible), I would always prefer the look & feel of wood. When we thought we'd need to choose another flooring option for upstairs, my husband trying to soften the blow of the change, told me to go choose whatever wood I wanted. Kind? For sure. But ultimately, if I couldn't have it match the downstairs, I was going to carpet it. One thing I've learned about renovations is this: you're flooring MUST match. It is always what will give you away & the last thing I wanted this space to look like was an addition. The flooring is important to get right. Luckily we found a solution to use the product we wanted but I was panicked there for an hour or two.
The weekend is here & it doesn't seem like weeks can pass fast enough these days. It might have something to do with being 9 months pregnant, but every weekend feels like it deserves a little celebration of some sort. I've got a babysitter lined up for Saturday night and it's crazy to think this will be the last date night we have before baby...unless Scot wants to miss an ASU game, but odds are a negative there. :)
If you're in the market, or just love walking houses as much as I do here is the weekly breakdown of the Open Houses going on this weekend for Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Chandler. You can find this amazing kitchen, which is just a tip of the iceberg in Scottsdale.
Find this amazing outdoor living situation in Chandler
And these beams belong in Scottsdale as well
I've been using this same cinnamon roll recipe for, well, forever and yet this weekend with two little tweaks, I produced my best batch yet! I love when that happens. I don't make cinnamon rolls too often, mostly because once I do make them, I go on what I like to call the cinnamon roll diet: Breakfast? Cinnamon roll. Lunch? Cinnamon roll. Dessert? Cinnamon roll. You get the idea...I just can't stop myself.
I was this close to not making them this weekend for #ldsconf, given my large & swollen state, then I thought about the cinnamon roll diet & thought, what the heck? and headed right into the kitchen to whip up a batch...or two.
So tweak number 1: I doubled the batch. I did it thinking I'd take some to friends, or just eat a few more myself, but what actually ended up happening was even better. Instead of having twice as many rolls, they were twice as big. Yes please. When I really stop and think that I'm actually eating two instead of one, it makes me a little sick. Naturally, I stop myself from thinking that way & just enjoy every bite.
The next tweak was a big one. Instead of dry on the top, until you add frosting, I got ooey-gooey-sticky-rolls & it's so simple I banged my head on the wall that I'd wasted so many years not applying it. My mom happened to be over when I pulled them out of the over & when I reached for my spatula to take them off the pan, she exclaimed, "What are you doing?!" I stopped to indicate the obvious & gave her a side long glance because the last time I remember my mom making cinnamon rolls is: never. BUT she still held the key to my best batch with a nugget of wisdom from her mother. Instead of using a spatula to remove the rolls, simply dump your pan upside down...thus capturing all of the caramel goodness. We actually frosted them & ate them upside down as well & not gonna lie? Game changer.
2 C warm water
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 TB yeast (or two packets)
combine in mixer, let sit for 5 minutes
3 C flour
1/4 C oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 C flour
Mix all ingredients together, cover bowl with clean dishtowel & let rise 15 minutes.
Roll out, fill with melted butter (1 stick), sugar, brown sugar & cinnamon
Roll dough, then cut into 1/2" strips. Place on cookie sheet, sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover with dishtowel & let rise until double in size, about 15 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter @ room temperature
1 8oz cube cream cheese @ room temperature
1 t vanilla
3 C powdered sugar
Feel free experiment with the frosting, sometimes I add more butter and less cream cheese, sometimes I add almond flavoring or maple instead of vanilla...make it how you like it!
Yesterday I walked some amazing new model homes in Phoenix and not only fell in love with the homes, but these floor length mirrors. You guys loved them too, so naturally, I had to search them out! In these models, the mirrors mirrored the style of doors that were used throughout the home. You can see the black window-paned door behind me in the photo looks similar to the mirror, which really allows the mirror to work more like a door. Reflecting all the natural light.
As you well know, I'm a lover of light & have plans for a few of these mirrors in strategics spots in my own house.
These two were my favorite of the options I had. I never thought these words would leave my mouth, but I'm actually loving the draw towards more warm colors in interiors. As such, I think I'd go with a dark pane as opposed to a gold, silver or metallic finish, but a few of these might make me reconsider...
Hi, I'm Amy. When I'm not scouring the valley for the perfect new house, you can usually find me in the kitchen with a gaggle of kids. Chips, salsa and a Diet Coke are usually in hand.