Category Archives: House

Little bits of happy

We had 15 people here for dinner last night for Chad’s company.  Chad grilled steak and I made twice baked potato casserole, green beans, salted caramel brownies.  It was delicious and the leftovers are yummy, too.  But my best purchase from Trader Joe’s for the night was a couple little bouquets of cheap flowers.  I just love how they add a little bright spot to the living room  Also, please notice my sparkling wood floors – love!


Our house needed to be painted.  Really badly.  The people that lived there before Chad bought it apparently only ever painted the front.  The back looked like this:

Yikes. Thankfully, our insurance company ponied up some money since we had minor hail damage last summer.  We got it painted and now it’s all pretty.  It’s amazing what a difference a little paint can make.

More art!

Chad was hanging our pictures on the dining room walls when I got home from work on Thursday. Such a nice surprise to have them up – and to not have to help! He’s so good to me.

Now to clean the glass…


And here they are up close. Thanks for the great shots, Janine!


More beauty: bathrooms

A few days ago I told you about the adventure of hanging the first picture in the house. Today, I’m happy to announce: There’s more art on the walls!

Guest bathroom: Kandinsky.

Upon closer review, I think my Composition 7 may be hung upside down. Also, it’s stupidly hard to take pictures in tiny (maybe 5×7 plus weird hallway entrance) bathrooms.

Downstairs bathroom: Amber waves of grain. Also a little print of stacked books that I forgot to take a picture of.

Our bathroom: Story People on burlap for now.

House: Feeling more welcoming.
Anna: Happy with the progress.

Beauty matters

“Every experience of beauty points to [eternity].” – Hans Urs von Balthasar

“A woman knows, down in her soul, that she longs to bring beauty to the world. She might be mistaken on how, but she longs for a beauty to unveil. This is in her heart, part of her design.”

I love those lines from Captivating, the companion book to Wild at Heart. The author’s words about beauty resonate deep in my soul. But to be really honest, it’s part of my heart that Chad doesn’t share. He doesn’t understand yet why picking out the perfect earrings in the morning, or sprinkling fresh herbs on a dinner plate, or wanting to hang art on our walls or arranging books on a shelf just so is important to me. I don’t expect him to share that, but I do have a desire, a longing, for him to get a piece of it, to see the joy that simple beauty brings to my life, to support my small pursuits of making things lovely.

I want our home to be beautiful. Not necessarily in the classic sense, with fancy appliances and stainless steel rails and exposed beams…oh. That is our house. But really, I want there to be a softness there, a welcoming, a sense of invitation into our lives. I want our home to reflect us.

I think Chad got a taste of how big the little things can be over the weekend, when we finally got a piece of art hung on the wall between the kitchen and living room. Smiles all over! My sister made it for us for Christmas – it’s a paper-collage nod to all the awesome doors we saw in Tallinn. It’s not anything overly special, but I like that Sar made it; I like that it references other places in the world that I love; I like that it goes well with colors in our house. But I really love that there’s a pretty little something hanging on our wall now, something that reflects who we are. I really love that I did something to make our home beautiful.

Isn’t it pretty?

And, just because it’s so good, I’m sharing some more of Stasi Eldredge’s thoughts on beauty. The following is totally ripped/paraphrased from Captivating, pages 37-42.

Beauty speaks. Think of what it’s like to be caught in traffic – horns blaring, exhaust billowing, suffocating…Then remember what it’s like to come into a beautiful place, a garden or meadow or quiet beach. There is room for your soul…You can rest. It is good. All is well. That’s what beauty says, All shall be well.

Beauty invites. A truly beautiful piece of music captures you; you want to sit and drink it in. The same is true of a beautiful garden or scene in nature. You want to enter in, explore, partake of it.

Beauty inspires. A teacher in the inner city explained to us why he insisted on putting a fountain and flowers in the courtyard of the building. “Because these children need to be inspired; to know that life can be better.”

Beauty is transcendent. Beauty reminds us of an Eden we have never known, but somehow know our hearts were created for. Beauty speaks of heaven to come, when all shall be beautiful. It haunts us with eternity. Beauty draws us to God.

There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.

making it home

The moving in, joining lives, becoming one process is just that – a process. It’s one that I’d like to have completed in about two point four seconds, but I can’t. My clothes live in their own closet (in our bedroom no less!) but the space isn’t really “done” yet, our (oh my goodness our friends & family are so generous) gifts have been unwrapped/sorted/put away/stashed in a corner, boxes are slowly getting unpacked, and thanks to some momentum created during a visit from my mom (okay, I’ll be honest; we had to call in the troops), my kitchen is a little place of peace.

Look! Clean, well organized drawers. Ziplock bags living together, all my bakery supplies stashed neatly in a drawer for the one day a year I need to use them:

Utensils happily nestled where they belong:

My coffee contained in a cute little basket on the counter:

Sometimes the little things have to count more than normal.

Inspiration: Living Room

The husband/wife that lived in our house before us finished a lovely renovation on the kitchen including a 6-burner gas stove that is absolutely to die for and a warming drawer that serves nicely as a tupperware drawer.  They also painted the entire house a color that can only be described as pale seafoam green.  The dining room is a shade darker and our bedroom is a shade lighter.   It’s actually not too bad, and somehow manages to serve as a neutral in the house.  However, everytime I think about decorating, I hit a roadblock.  What actually goes with seafoam, anyway?

Turns out, a lot.  Coral, grey, yellow, red, teal, chocolate…  Thanks, Pinterest.

So I mocked up some ghetto-fab photoshop curtains and artwork in our living room with various colors, and Chad decided he liked red the best.  Here’s the blank-slate space we’re working with and some of the pieces I was inspired by.  And yes, that chair does have lime green and tiffany blue swirls in it.  It adds a unique twist all of its own.

Stay tuned for progress pics.

Happiness hangover

Getting married was so ridiculously amazing, but also totally exhausting. I think I underestimated how emotionally draining the week would be. Also totally exhausting? Putting the house together and figuring out where in the world we’re going to store everything. Chad’s Our house is amazing, but a bit short on storage space. Plus, we got a ton of amazing gifts, but we (admittedly, I) registered for a few things that we don’t really need. Or have room to store. So, like I told a girlfriend last week, I’ve had to have a couple of hard conversations with myself about things like a panini press.

The conversations went sort of like this.

Reasonable Adult Self: Anna. Seriously, how many times a year are you going to make a panini?
Likes Fancy Kitchen Stuff Self: Um, hello, sandwiches with stripes. How cute are they?RSS: Also, let’s talk about your severe lack of kitchen storage space. Where is that thing going to live? And wouldn’t you rather buy a new bath towel or three?
LFKSS: Sandwiches. With stripes.
RAS: [Rolls eyes]
LFKSS: Please?
RAS: No.

So the Panini Press got returned. Sorry, whoever bought that for us. We will indeed buy two point five bath towels with that money. Which is not nearly as fun but quite practical. Sad, grown up day.

Also, Starbucks mugs? I had…38. In pairs of two, of course, because evidently somewhere along my single-girl life, I thought I might marry a coffee drinker. I didn’t. I also didn’t marry a guy who understands things like addictions to Starbucks mugs. I kept 20, which was how many fit on the shelf in the cupboard, plus 8 various holiday mugs that will go in a box with holiday decorations. So goodbye earthy-looking but sort of lumpy mugs with coffee beans pressed into you. Goodbye awkwardly tall and semi-cute but refusing to stack green and pink mugs. Tear.

However, the bright colored oversized margarita/martini glasses (yes, hard to store and not the most practical thing on earth) that Ranae gave me? Those got to stay.

Sorting through my stuff and deciding which things fit into my new married life is way more emotional than I expected. I didn’t really plan on crying over coffee mugs. But, you know. Chad mostly just tries not to laugh at me, and offers hugs and help hauling stuff to the Goodwill pile. Good man.