July 13, 2016
by Brooke

Should We Stay Or Should We Go

Our renovation process started last fall with discussions around the practical implications of growing our family. Our 1,700 sq ft, two bedroom, two bath cottage was perfect for the three of us (four including Tucker dog), but there was minimal wiggle room in Henry’s loft space for additional little ones.

To move or to renovate?
We browsed the market, consulted with realtors, interviewed contractors, and worked with a designer to make an educated decision. Through this research, we concluded that what the market had to offer was trumped by the love for our existing home/location and the proposed plan to execute our vision. Not only would a renovation afford us more space, it would also allow us to customize every detail.

To live through it or move out?
We did a pre-renovation walk through with our contractor to determine which rooms would be impacted by the work and during which phases. For us, this revealed that, with sacrifices, we could make do in our existing space. The challenge has been a fun one, including sleepovers in the living room and daily playtime in the dining room. It’s been exciting to be fully immersed in the progress and to work as a team to find serenity in the chaos. If we lived closer to family or had a practical temporary option, we may have more seriously considered the alternative, which has its own set of pros and cons.

To utilize existing space or rent storage?
During our walk through, we identified what needed to be moved and/or covered up during each phase of the project, which gave us an idea of available space and items requiring a new home. Although it has required an extensive amount of creative re-arranging, we’ve managed to keep everything in our existing space. The key is to divide the available space into two categories, accessible and non-accessible, and prioritize which items are necessities. From here we aligned the accessible space and necessities and the non-accessible space with the non-essential items.

We are a few weeks into the project and it is messy, loud, disruptive, and even inconvenient at times. However, I would make all the same decisions in hindsight. If you are about to embark on a similar journey, work through the questions above to evaluate the most fitting approach for your situation.

June 23, 2016
by Brooke

A Clean Slate

The demolition phase of the renovation has provided us with an opportunity to to start anew with a fresh approach to our outdoor living space. When recently reviewing my inspiration board, from the project design phase, I came across, and still felt drawn to, the combination of slate and brick.


I made an appointment with the recommended Stone Center of Carolina in Durham and they were able to steer me in the right direction based on my vision, budget, square footage, and type of application – dry laid in our case, which works best with an irregular or 1 1/2 inch pattern stone.

We narrowed it down to four options (clockwise starting in upper left corner): PA Bluestone Pattern Thermal Blue, PA Bluestone Pattern Natrual Cleft Full Color, NC Old Charleston blue, and PA Irregular Full Color Stand Up Flagstone.


After out meeting, we asked these questions to identify the best fit for our space:

Smooth or rough?
We started with this question, because our preference was strongest around it being smooth. This will make it more level for our little one(s) to walk and play on and our furniture will be more stable on the even

Pattern/clean lines or irregular?
In order to get a smooth option, we need to go with pattern/clean lines.

PA/not local or NC/local?
There isn’t a local option for smooth, so PA.

Splurge or more cost effective?
We will need to splurge on this purchase to get a smooth surface. (The NC Old Charleston blue is the most cost effective, due to it being a native stone. It is also currently 25% off, which takes it down to about $3/sq ft. The second least expensive option is the PA Irregular Full Color Stand Up Flagstone at around $4.70/ sq ft. The pattern options jump a bit in price, with the full color around $6.75/sq ft and the blue at $11.75/ sq ft.

Blue or full color?
Full color is going to coordinate best with our paint colors AND a bonus is that it will be about $1800 less than the blue.

Based on the response above, the winner is…a clean slate! More specifically, the PA Bluestone Pattern Natural Cleft Full Color.

June 22, 2016
by Brooke

Getting Started

Shed Removal

It isn’t a Monday, the beginning of a week, month, year, or a date of significance. I haven’t mastered the art of photography or social media. I don’t have a clear vision with a strategy in place. It is simply time to get started!

When I saw the first visible progress of our renovation today, it hit me…there is never a perfect time and the beginning steps are going to be a bit messy. If we can start a 3-5 month renovation with a 17 month old, 21 weeks pregnant, and live through it, I can toss my fears, anxieties, and excuses about blogging in our obnoxious, yellow dumpster and start sharing!