House Q+A

April 18, 2021

Categories: Home, Lifestyle

Thank you so much for submitting these questions via Instagram. It was fun to reflect and answer them for you! I truly love finding inspiration and then seeing the way decor transforms a space; I know so many of you love interior decor as much as I do. I can’t wait to share more about the decor progress as we continue to get settled in our new home.

1. What made you decide to move?

The decision to move was one that took us a while; my husband and I aren’t the type that enjoys moving every 3-4 years. We really love investing in a home, making it ours, and filling it with memories. Both our parents live in the same houses we spent the majority of our childhoods in and we would like to recreate that for our own children.

Ultimately, we simply outgrew our previous house. I know I could probably expand into a 20k sq ft space if given the opportunity, but… We really did run out of space for our needs. It felt like things were just exploding out of every drawer and corner. We needed an additional bedroom(s) and a bigger playroom for our growing family, more storage space for decor and children’s items, and more general space for the family to spread out and relax. After living through lockdown and the pandemic, we realized we preferred to be in a safe, quiet neighborhood with a larger yard for our children to play in. We were tired of city living and felt that a more quiet, distant place better suited our current family lifestyle.

2. Anything about the old house you will miss?

It was nice to be so close to everything – especially before we had Georgina when we wanted to go out a bit more. And I will miss my big, beautiful dressing room I created in an extra bedroom that was all mine! It was fun to have a designated closet space like that. But again, that was my pre-mom life and my priorities were different and I had more time to get dressed and play in my closet!

I will always cherish that house because of the memories we made there; it’s where we began our little family. We bought it just after we got engaged, came home to it after our wedding and honeymoon, planted the garden together by hand, brought our newborn daughter Georgina home from the hospital and celebrated her first birthday in that garden, and I said goodbye to my sweet dog Lola there this past year. Seven years of memories!

3. Did you know you were pregnant when you were house shopping?

Actually, we didn’t! We started our last round of house hunting in September and we found our house in October. A couple of months later, we closed on our house and found out I was pregnant just a few days later! We were both so shocked and excited! It was the best surprise ever. During the negotiation process, I was getting frustrated and told my mom I felt like the little girl in A Miracle on 34th Street who asks Santa for a house and a baby. I guess Santa certainly delivered on that wish!

The timing was difficult in the first trimester, but I’m so glad to have the most difficult parts of renovating, packing, moving, and unpacking behind me. We did about two months of home improvement projects, then moved in and put our old house on the market. I can’t imagine doing that in these last months of pregnancy. I’ve started nesting and now I just want to organize, finalize projects, and work on the nursery.

Our master bathroom. Sherwin Williams “Sleepy Hollow” on walls and “Ivory Lane” on trim.

4. How did you decide to buy vs. build?

We did about 2-3 rounds of house hunting and we did consider building; we looked at both lots and houses. But we felt both of us having only owned new construction builder homes previously, we just didn’t have the experience necessary to build a custom home from the beginning. (I have to say, simply going through these minor renovations and home improvements has reinforced that!) And we didn’t want to wait so long to move – now knowing I’m pregnant, thank goodness we didn’t!

My husband and I love traditional, classic, older homes which are rare here in Denver so we knew there was a chance we might have to build what we wanted. Luckily, we soon found our perfect home and completely fell in love with its classic character and charm. We both got “that” feeling and knew it was ours from the moment we set foot in it.

5. How did you find your house?

My husband saw the listing for our new house online and it was in the area we had been hoping and praying to be in… So we made a showing appointment with our realtor and drove up to the house, surrounded by all of this gorgeous fall foliage and leaves gently falling down around us. It was so picturesque, I felt like we were in a Nancy Myers film or something. As soon as I saw the interior and we walked the layout I was positive this was the house for us. I would go to sleep looking at photos of it every night; I was completely smitten. Since moving in, John and I have both noticed how it immediately felt like “our house”; we instantly just felt at peace here, so I think it was meant to be.

6. Will this be this your “forever” home?

If you ask my husband, he will say we will move one more time and build our retirement home. But I truly despise moving and having all of our things out of place, so I honestly don’t know if I could go through a major move again. I also think it would be hard for me to leave the house where our children grow up and make so many memories. I’m too sentimental!

Instead of moving again in the future, I would love to have a vacation spot in a warm weather location. That way, we could spend time with our family there over the years while keeping our home base. Maybe escape these lengthy Colorado Spring snowstorms! But never say never…

“Luscious” by Stephanie Birdsall. Sherwin Williams “Natural Linen” on walls and “Ivory Lace” on trim.

7. Where do you find your traditional furniture and decor? What is the title of the painting (pictured above) and the artist’s name?

There are so many places to search if you love traditional furniture! We do take a lot of hand-me-downs from parents; great pieces have great bones and can easily be reupholstered or updated through the years. It’s one of the most sustainable things you can do! There are amazing finds to be had at estate sales, local antique shops, eBay Local Pickup, and even Craigslist. I am never above hunting for the right piece.

If you love to travel, bringing home a beautiful piece of art or a special antique can help you cherish those memories forever. Compared to prices in the US, I’ve found that antiques in the UK and France are priced comparatively low which gives you a little wiggle room to pay for shipping. Walking through the Cotswolds and Provence was one incredible antique shop after another. They have such lovely pieces, I would ship home entire shops if I could!

As far as new traditional pieces go, take a peek at Ballard Designs, Amy Berry Home, Caitlin Wilson Design, Scully & Scully, Horchow, Frontgate, and One Kings Lane.

The painting you’ve asked about (pictured above) is new and called “Luscious” by Stephanie Birdsall (website here) a talented artist of whom I now consider myself a devoted fan for life. The way she captures the femininity and softness of flowers is breathtaking. Another artist I would recommend is a young, up-and-coming artist named Anna Rose (website here) from Denver. I’m lucky to have one of her pieces and find myself admiring it all the time.

8.What were your priorities for renovation? Would you recommend your painter/contractors?

One of the major selling points of our new house was the fact it was in such great condition – especially for being an older home. And we were so grateful none of the previous owners had altered the classic details that made it so special to us; the beautiful trim and millwork throughout. So many elegant old houses here in Denver have (attempted to be) converted into modern houses and they just look and feel strange to me. This house has all its original charm intact and we truly cherish it! We didn’t want to change it in any material way or take the character away from it.

I would say a list of priorities is the most important part of starting a renovation because you never know what is going to eat up your timeline and budget. My top priorities were new paint throughout, new carpeting, and then simple things to freshen it up like new light fixtures, new can lights/exhaust fans, and new hardware here and there. Then came wallpapering Georgie’s bedroom to recreate her nursery and freshening up her bathroom without doing a full reno. The current projects are wallpapering the powder room and dining room, starting the new nursery and nursery bathroom, and replacing the tile in the kitchen. Down the road we will replace the tile and wallpaper the guest bathroom; this project left the priorities list once we found out I was pregnant!

We had a fantastic carpet layer who did our carpet throughout and even figured out a solution to complicated custom staircase runners. Our wallpaper installer is incredible; he drives down from the mountains to do our projects and is a true perfectionist when it comes to wallpaper. The person who did our painting and contractor work would be great for any painting or handyman projects you have; he’s affordable and knows how to do everything from plumbing to electrical work, so it’s nice to have all of that done with one person. I may reach out to someone else for the tile/bathroom projects specifically, because I simply don’t know much about that and I don’t know if I could properly direct/supervise the person we’ve been using for everything else. Happy to share these contacts if you need.

9. What was the process like for your trim work? Would you recommend doing this?

Since our trim is all original to the house, we didn’t have to do much! We had absolutely everything painted before we moved in and we chose Sherwin Williams “Ivory Lace” in semi-gloss for all the trim, doors, and cabinetry. It’s a soft, warm white and it just looks beautiful on the details in the trim.

I personally love trim and crown moulding. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I do think it adds such charm and elegance to a space. Even adding it in a few certain areas like your dining room or staircase will make a major impact.

10. What paint color combinations did you use in your house? Paint advice? What paint color looks best with gold gilt frames?

The importance of paint color combinations is one of the things I had no idea about before we renovated this house. I painted two ceilings pure white before my decorator got her hands on me and said, “No no no!” Hahaha. You don’t want stark white, boring ceilings or walls… There’s so much warmth and feeling you can bring in through paint colors and I’ve learned so much through this process.

We listened to everyone else who suggested satin and eggshell finish for the paint, but regretted that decision every time. I recommend using a matte finish on your wall colors (trim is a different story and needs to be semi-gloss) because it looks much nicer; we even had a few rooms repainted in a matte finish because we hated the sheen of the satin finish so much.

You also need to test and retest paint colors in different lighting; paint an entire wall, watch the way the colors change throughout the day and evening. I made this mistake in Georgie’s bathroom and the color is much too saturated; I think we will have to repaint this space all because I didn’t take the time to paint the entire wall and keep monitoring it throughout various lights. These are all lessons learned and completely normal during the renovation process!

As far as gold frames go, I don’t think you can go wrong… They are my personal favorite! But I have to say, gold really pops on the creamy white of Farrow & Ball’s “White Tie” and looks incredible against the soft blue of Sherwin Williams “Sleepy Hollow”.

Master Bedroom: Sherwin Williams “Maison Blanche”

Master Bathroom: Sherwin Williams “Sleepy Hollow”

Family Room: SW “Clary Sage” on walls, SW “Colony Buff” on ceiling (was supposed to be SW “Patience”)

Playroom: Farrow & Ball “White Tie” on walls, SW “Little Boy Blue” on ceiling

Kitchen, Hallways: SW “Natural Linen” on walls, SW “Honied White” on ceiling

Piano Room: SW “Pavilion Beige” on walls, SW “Colony Buff” on ceiling

Dining Room: Schumacher “Brighton Pavilion” wallpaper, SW “Light French Gray” on ceiling

Easter decor in our breakfast nook – the plan is to retile this fireplace in classic blue + white tiles. Sherwin Williams “Honied White” on ceiling, “Natural Linen” on walls, and “Ivory Lace” on trim.
New kitchen pendant lights. Planning on retiling this backsplash and adding some new kitchen hardware as well. Sherwin Williams “Honied White” on ceiling, “Natural Linen” on walls, and “Ivory Lace” on trim.

11. One thing you learned while renovating/doing improvements?

Always plan for your projects to cost more and to take longer than expected. And as I mentioned above, I learned so much about the importance of paint and getting the color and finish just right.

Another thing I learned… It’s so tempting to do little bits of projects; a light fixture here, painting that room over there. But suddenly you’ve spent so much time and money and no one room truly feels finished. I was told I couldn’t take a section of tile out from Georgie’s bathroom and now I’m wishing I had looked for someone else to do it; the room will never feel finished to me until I do. Jenny from Tallwood Country House (@tallwoodcountryhouse on Instagram) once said to focus on one room/project at a time and do it well. This may mean you live with some spaces in need of updating, but that’s okay… I personally enjoy always having a project ahead of me!

12. Are you finished with renovations or do you have more projects in store?

I don’t know if a house is ever truly finished; especially if you love interior decorating. By the time you’ve finished your current list, it’s time to reupholster a few chairs or renovate a bathroom.

My goal is to take a little break from major projects once the new baby is here! We’ve talked about doing a full kitchen reno down the road in 3-5 years, but kitchen renos are so beastly I will put it off for as long as possible. The idea of littles and no refrigerator or oven for a couple of months sounds brutal.

13. What is the mud room/laundry room organization like?

We don’t have a mud room in this house. But we do have built-ins in our garage, a garden shed, and a coat closet. I do love a mud room, but it seems with these other areas we don’t really need one right now.

My previous laundry room was more like a closet and when I was pregnant with Georgie I could barely get past the doors with my bump and a full basket of laundry! We now have a proper laundry room with plenty of storage and it is so nice. I have been working on organization in this area so I can share it with you. I think it’s an area we all struggle with in terms of organization.

BEFORE. Georgina’s nursery.
AFTER. Georgina’s new nursery. What a difference window treatments make!

14. What is your home office/command center organization like?

This is one piece I sacrificed when we moved here! I used to have my own office, but once I had Georgina I found I was much more likely to grab my laptop and do some work from the sofa or even my bed. It was much more important for John to have a nice office to work from home and the children to have their own space for a playroom. My desk and computer are currently in our cozy family room where I will be able to watch the children more easily. And the large antique piece I use for office storage is in the piano room, so I dart in there if I need my camera charger or a stamp. Once the children are older with less toys and prefer to be away from us to study we will make an area for that and I will get to decorate a feminine space for my office in their former playroom.

15. Your favorite part about your new house?

Oh my goodness. Everything! Aside from our neighborhood which I have completely fallen in love with, I would say the traditional layout is my favorite part of the new house. It just fits our needs perfectly and feels like a truly cozy family home. In our previous open floor plan house, we felt we just lived in one main area the entire time. Most of Georgina’s toys were always out in our main living space and I couldn’t hide them if someone popped by. Now everything seems to have its own space. Lots of natural light, lots of great built-ins for storage, and space.

16. Does Georgie like the new house? What is her favorite part?

Georgina has always been such a great sleeper, so we were terrified she wouldn’t sleep at the new house! But we moved her crib in first and she actually sleeps better here than at the old house. She settled in right away and loves wandering around, exploring the rooms.

I think Georgie’s favorite part of this house is her playroom. She loves coloring and making her little play dough creations at her table. And I love peeking around the corner and seeing her looking through one of her books in her little armchair. I’m working on a playroom post with all the links for you – it should be posted soon!

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