I grew up in a heavily wooded area, but since moving away for college have lived in more urban areas. Moving into our new house, which backs up to some pretty thick woods, has had both Troy and I enchanted with all of the critters that we’ve been encountering on a near-daily basis.

Troy has lots of help while he does yard work:  We’ve saved at least half a dozen turtles crossing the street next to our house.
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A Rundown of our Appliance Selections

It’s been quite the whirlwind since we moved into the house — unpacking, deliveries, decorating, organizing, maintenance visits, and tons of shopping, all while holding down our normal jobs, of course. Add into that my best friend’s wedding and a work trip to Europe and I’m still trying to get my head to stop spinning!

So many fun, amazing things, but it hasn’t given me a lot of time to sit down and write about our move and some of the early decisions we’ve made as we’ve begun to settle in to our new home.

One of the very first things we did after closing was order our appliances. Since we essentially started staying at the house the moment we got the keys, we were without appliances for nearly a week — thank goodness for the grill we had in storage (and takeout, obvi), or else we would have starved.

The majority of our appliances were ordered on Friday and arrived the following Thursday. A good friend extended us his GE employee discount, which was great because we were already a big fan of GE appliances as they had a lot of the features we were looking for in their products. We got our fridge, gas range, dishwasher, and washing machine from him.

Our dryer and microwave were purchased at a local store called Big George’s. If you are in the Ann Arbor area, I cannot recommend Big George’s enough. Their salesmen are friendly, knowledgeable, and very low-pressure. Their customer service is great, delivery was seamless, and their prices are the best around.

We picked up the TV and microwave on the day that we moved and had the dryer delivered and installed. Troy installed the microwave above the range himself without too much difficulty.

I wanted to give a quick run-down of the appliances we purchased and why — they are going to likely make quite a few appearances in future posts, so hopefully it will help to have this information all in one place.

First up, the kitchen…

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Mitten Love: Our Great Lakes Desk Project

Happy Friday!

While we wait for the second appraisal to come back (the process of which has already been riddled with errors and miscommunication, if you can believe it), I wanted to share a project that Troy finished last weekend, and the second piece of furniture we purchased for the new house.

I teased in a couple of posts about the desk top that we ordered. Well, it was finished a couple of weeks ago and we are absolutely in love with it.


We purchased the piece from DV8 Designs, a woodworking shop in metro Detroit. They worked with us to choose a size for the desk (originally designed as a coffee table, so we made it a little bit bigger) and let us pick a stain that would match our decor. Ryan at DV8 was fantastic to work with, responded to all of our emails and inquiries in a timely fashion, and produced a unique, beautiful desktop that is sure to be a conversation piece with many guests. If you are in the market for a piece of Michigan-inspired woodwork, we can’t recommend Ryan and DV8 Designs highly enough!

While the desktop was being made, we began researching options for the legs. We purchased the desktop without legs to save a little bit of money and because we wanted the opportunity to get a little creative. I mentioned in this post about our desire to use pipes for the legs, an idea that stuck and eventually led us to the finished product.IMG_5831

Troy used the tutorial by DIY Ready to purchase and assemble the desk legs. All of the materials were purchased at Home Depot for around $100. We decided to go with the Depot because their prices for cutting and threading the pipe was much less than other stores we researched. Continue reading

New Home Inspiration: Foyer and Office

Next up on our home inspiration tour, I’d like to show you some of the plans for the front of the house, specifically the entryway/foyer and the office.

Last week, I hinted at the fact that we’d purchased a desktop for the office. While I’m still not ready to share the actual desktop, I can tell you that it is only a desktop — meaning we (Troy) will be installing the legs of the desk, and we (me) will need to find a comfy chair to go with the finished product.

Right now, we’re pretty set on going a bit industrial and using metal pipes for the legs of the desk.

TableReveal-copy-691x1024via Vin’yet Etc.

Using pipes for the legs of the desk is really a make-or-break part of how I’d like to decorate in several aspects of the house. I can’t say I was expecting us to make all of our own furniture, but if the desk works out like we plan, I’d love to also do a bookshelf in that room as well.

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New Home Inspiration: Living Room

If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ve probably noticed that it has been blowing up with decor ideas for the house. Since we seem to be in another building lull, I thought it would be fun to share some of my ideas for the interior of our home, starting with the living room.

The main floor living space is not huge. I’ve already posted about the couch, but here’s another photo to jog your memory:

buchananvia the Pottery Barn website

We chose this couch because we want it to “float” in front of the fireplace and, in order to have room for a walkway on either side, we had to choose something less than 90 inches in width.

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A Couch Story

Is TLC’s “A Baby Story” still on TV? Regardless, I totally think HGTV needs to parody it with “A Furniture Story” and it can be a full 30 minutes dedicated to a person’s emotional search for the perfect sectional. Heed my pitch, HGTV, and let the following story inspire the next great television phenomenon.

We started looking for furniture a few weeks ago for the same reasons I am obsessively researching every single item that will be in my future home: 1) because I don’t have anything better to do, 2) because I want to get the best deal between now and April, and 3) I have this idea in my head that buying things little by little over the next 8 months will feel like less of a jolt to my bank account than waiting until we move in to buy all the things.

Somehow I’ve convinced Troy that this is a sane  practice, so we took a day trip to the big fancy-pants mall a few towns over and spent a long morning looking at furniture.

At the end of that first day, we were pretty convinced we were going to be buying some Arhaus pieces, specifically the Landsbury sectional and the  Desmond chair. The sales consultant at Arhaus told us that their biggest furniture sale of the year was coming up soon, and thus we decided not to pull the trigger, even though I loved the pieces and the fabrics we chose.

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When we got the sale prices about a week later, the new-found couch excitement had worn off and I realized the Arhaus pieces were more than I really felt comfortable spending. In addition to that, we’d also gotten a chance to take some measurements at the model home and found that the Landsbury was too large for the configuration we’d planned on. Those things combined sent us back to the drawing board.

We did make some progress during our Arhaus research, though: Troy now knew he really wanted a couch with a chaise, and I knew I really wanted a fun, patterned accent chair.

We also learned that we disagreed on the subject of which side of the sofa the chaise should be on. But as luck would have it, while searching the Pottery Barn website, I came across not one but two reversible chaise options: the Buchanan and the Cameron.


Photo via Pottery Barn

The price was much less than the Arhaus couch, and the reversible chaise seemed like the perfect solution to a living room that hasn’t been built yet. I liked the color options I saw online, so I went into the store across the street from my office building a few days later.

I wasn’t able to see the sectional in person, but they did have a Cameron loveseat that I sat on. Unfortunately it only took a second to figure out that it was way too firm for what we’d want. I also tried out the PB Comfort line, which was incredibly soft and squishy — I could totally imagine myself curled up with a good book napping on this couch — but it did not come as a reversible chaise. I was told that the Buchanan was somewhere between the Cameron and the PB Comfort, which sounded ideal, but I wasn’t ready to drop some serious cash on a couch that I had never sat on. I picked up some fabric samples anyway and planned to scour the outlet in the hopes that a Buchanan would show up in the next few months.

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Don’t act like you’re surprised by this color palette

Before I left that day, the sales consultant at Pottery Barn was able to look at some other stores in the area for a floor model of the Buchanan, but the nearest one was in Skokie, outside of Chicago. I joked that my good friend worked in Skokie…and realized that it might be a perfect excuse for a impromptu visit. A plan slowly began to formulate, and two weeks later we were driving to Illinois over Labor Day weekend.

Amidst various good times had with good friends during that trip, we made our way over to the Skokie Pottery Barn to sit in the Buchanan chair they had in the store. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was going to be perfect — call it furniture intuition, but the chair just looked inviting and comfortable. And we’d travelled so far to see it!

And the icing on the beautiful Pottery Barn cake? A Labor Day weekend 25% off sale! We just couldn’t pass it up.

buchananThe Buchanan chaise sofa in Flagstone, the color we ordered in, via the PB website

We ordered the couch, but held off on any chair purchases. The Skokie store claimed that the striped fabric I liked had been discontinued, even though I had just picked up the fabric swatch (which I failed to bring with us to Chicago) and it says “Fall 2014” on it — might need to return to the local store to investigate that mystery.

photo 2 (9)Wouldn’t the stripes just look darling with the dark couch? 

Also, unlike the other stores we had contacted, Pottery Barn won’t hold on to our furniture until the spring (Arhaus, and also Macy’s, was willing to store our [paid in full] items in their warehouse until we were ready to accept delivery). Since we wanted to take advantage of the sale, we’ll just have to find room in the storage unit, somehow.

I’m super happy with our first furniture purchase for the new house, and I’m even a little glad that we have 8 months to pay it off before it’s time to close on the house (just a little bit, though).

Coming up after the break, we investigate the tumultuous world of patterned accent chairs…

Now come on — doesn’t that just sound like the makings of some seriously good reality tv?! … Anyone? Just me? Ok then.

Building Feng Shui

I’ve been thinking a lot about houses (shocker!) and a lot about how our new house will be set up. I’ve pretty much placed every piece of furniture in every room of the new house. While I wouldn’t say I am a strict feng shui follower, there are certain rules that have stuck in my mind and stayed with me throughout this process.

What is feng shui? According to the Google, feng shui, in Chinese thought, is “a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (qi), and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.” I by no means consider myself an expert – the information here I gathered from various sources (listed at the end of this post). I believe myself to be a “basic” follower, and here are a couple examples of how I see feng shui working in our new home.

Creating an inviting entryway

The one piece of feng shui that I always followed from the beginning of our house search was the staircase rule: I did not want a staircase that led directly out the front door. Even if it meant a certain amount of ease on moving day, I have always been opposed to living in a house with a staircase that funnels out the front door. Luckily for me, our staircase will be in the middle of the house!

Other entryway tips: remove obstacles (such as furniture or plants) from this area, and refrain from hanging a mirror that reflects directly out the front door – this will bounce any chi that attempts to enter your home right back out the door.

Trees behind

I won’t post yet another photo of our empty lot, but just know there will be lots and lots of trees behind the house when it’s finished!

Empowering furniture positioning

This is another one that has stuck in my head: never-have-I-ever positioned a bed such that my feet are facing the door. Feng shui! Correct placement of the bed, or any piece of furniture for that matter, dictates that you are able to see the door or entrance while you are sitting or lying, but so you are not in direct alignment with an open doorway. Without being able to see who or what is coming through the entrance, you will never feel truly comfortable.

There are also a few elements of the new house that I simply can’t (or won’t) change:

Main door facing a triangular peak

Since the lot across the street from ours remains unsold, we have no idea what will eventually be built there. Well, we do know it will be a house – and since most houses in this neighborhood have peaked, triangular roofs, this is probably inevitable.

Address numbers

Numerology in feng shui is highly charged, however, seeing as we don’t even have our “official” address yet, I can’t even begin to speculate on this one. For those of you with house numbers, though, here are the very basic meanings for the 10 digits:

  • 0 – void, nothingness, potential
  • 1 – unobstructed flow of energy, new beginnings
  • 2 – balance, choice, cooperation
  • 3 – creativity, family, self-expression
  • 4 – stability, grounding, security
  • 5 – change, resourcefulness, adventure
  • 6 – calm, patience
  • 7 – contemplation, self-evaluation, solitude
  • 8 – infinity, abundance, success in business
  • 9 – highest number, accomplishment, attainment.

I can at least note that our lot, number 105, could stand for new beginnings, potential, and adventure – this journey has definitely brought all of those things into our life!

The Ceiling Fan Conundrum

Mark this as one thing I won’t be changing: according to feng shui, ceiling fans, especially over frequently-used furniture like beds, desks, and couches, registers as “spinning knives overhead” – ie, bad energy. Alas, I love ceiling fans, and we have always had one over our bed. To me, there is nothing better than a cool breeze on a warm summer night! Luckily, the shape of the fan blades can do a little to curb the bad energy, so I guess we’ll just have to go with something less knife-like.


Although these things may not bring the best energy, there is plenty that can be done to counteract them (bringing nature, like plants and water features, into the home is always good for counteracting negative energy).

Again, all of this is very, very basic feng shui. Obviously I’ve done a bit of “pick and choose” when it comes to what is important to me and what can be glossed over. In the end, we are in charge of creating good energy inside of our homes. Interpretation rarely equates to direct translation. Once you have an idea of how you’d like to bring energy into your home, run with it! For us basic followers, it can’t hurt, right?



Sources: care2, FengShui-tips, Feng Shui for Dummies, About Home