The Best Moment of our Moving Day

Moving day was unreal.  Most of the time I felt like a deer in headlights.  Some our friends were cracking up because they could tell I was a mess.  I just had that look…you know…THAT look.  That look of exhaustion and joy and “where are my children?” and “I have no idea where that table will go” and “why the heck did we keep that?”.  I think I got a lot done, but I have a feeling that 85% of the day I just stood in the kitchen, staring.  Moving is so overwhelming.  We also had the issue of having our stuff in three locations – at my parents’ house and two storage facilities.  It had turned me into a hot mess and I did’t know where ANYTHING was (including my children).  We eventually found most things, except for my coffee grinder and my salad spinner.  How these things just disappear is crazy!  I need my salad spinner!

Anyway, in the midst of all the craziness, losing things and losing my mind, I found one of my children.  I found her constantly by my side all morning asking for my help.  She was so excited about her new room and unpacking her things that she hadn’t seen in over a year. She desperately wanted my help and my advice on where things should go and (gasp) could I please hang up her pictures??  I had to explain to her, through my tired eyes and insincere smile that it takes a LOT of time to unpack and that she needed to be patient and that we would eventually (maybe in two years?) get to her room.  I also mentioned that my feet hurt.

An hour later, I was still standing in the kitchen staring (or maybe working?).  She came bouncing down the stairs and asked me if I could come with her and that she had a special surprise.  I always panic a little at the word “surprise” when she says it.  Sometimes it’s something really sweet and other times, it’s something she meant to be sweet or great like painting her walls or dying her carpet (yikes!!!).  But this time, it was something SO SWEET.  She led me by the hand up to her room and I walked into this scene:

spa pedicure

She said “Mom, I know your feet hurt, so I set this up for you so you could take some time to relax.”  {{heart bursting}}  I melted into her chair and into tears as she took my shoes off and gave me one of her sweet spa pedicures.  It really did feel so good to sit down.  She had Adele playing softly on her ipod (haha!) and even had a plate with snacks by the chair. This girl made my day and made my mama heart so happy.  In the midst of everything, she reminded me of the most important thing.  She reminded me a lot of Mary in the story of Mary & Martha in Luke 10.  I love her heart. ❤  I pulled her into my lap and we laughed and I cried and it was the best moment of the entire day.


Beautiful Things

You know when you read something and it feels like you wrote it??  Yeah…that happened today.  I was scrolling through Instagram and came across this quote from @farmhouseforfour:

“The process of building our home built with it something we hadn’t expected.  I had not anticipated how the sticks and stones of this place would transform us in the process.  I knew it would be hard, but we simply set out to build a structure, shelter for our family.  In reality, it was building us.  It was a seasoning for our family, a refining by fire, and brought with it lessons in patience, grace, and great peace & joy in the imperfections.  These are the things that make a house a home.”

Umm…yes!  Except I probably couldn’t have said it that well.  In truth, I did expect the refining and the transformation.  I knew that it would be hard.  I knew that it would change us.  I just didn’t completely understand the extent of it. It’s kind of like having a baby!  I was looking at old pictures the other day and came across one when I was about 8 months pregnant.  It felt so familiar.  I have had that same feeling this year!  So much anticipation, so much excitement, and also the sleepless nights…the pain…the struggle.  It has been worth it in the end.  But it’s not easy.  Especially the birthing part.  There was a moment when we were in the thick of moving boxes in, moving our old furniture and stuff in…dirty and dusty from storage (more on that later!).  My feet and my back hurt so bad.  I couldn’t imagine how Jonathan felt.  It was so much work.  I had that thought of “Why would anyone ever choose to do this? It is so hard!” But those are the times that change us.  This is what God meant when he told me to “build your home”.  This is what it means.  Not just the sticks and stones, but the hard work of transformation in our hearts and minds. He is always working! And what He builds is always beautiful!

This song has been on our playlist a lot this year.

Beautiful Things by Gungor

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us


The outside of the house is coming together! We had stone put on, beams put in and shutters installed. We still need to do some painting, but I like how it’s working out.

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Dec. 8 stone

Jan. 17 pillars

We also had our garage doors installed.  They are a carriage style and I really like the windows at the top.

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Master Bathroom

The master bath is a mix of rustic, modern and antique French.  When I saw this lighting on Joss and Main I loved it and the design of the bathroom followed…

We put the chandelier over the tub and used two sconces – one in the toilet room and one between the mirrors (I will add more pics later). The doors and trim are all painted SW Snowbound.  The walls are SW Mindful Gray (a tad darker than the Respose Gray in most of the house).  The countertop is marble.  The master vanity and corner cabinet are painted SW Urbane Bronze. We found tile that we loved and that seemed to go well with the overall color scheme.

Tile: Anatolia Monticelio 24×24 (floor, 3 shower walls and 2×2 on shower floor) Florida Aventia 12×24 (tub backsplash and back shower wall), Island stone 12×12 beige and cream (tub deck, shower design). Tile purchased and installed by J Lane Flooring and Design, Warsaw, IN.

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I absolutely love the look of the pebbles!

One word of caution from experience:  make sure you see what they will look like sealed.  We used an epoxy grout and it completely changed the color of the stone.  The finished look is beautiful, but the color is a lot darker and has more brown than the original look.  


Searching for countertops was beyond exciting.  And surprising!  When we started, I had done all of the research and just knew that we wanted quartz for our kitchen.  It was durable, modern and beautiful.  I had picked out a few that I liked at our local supplier.  I loved the options and the functionality of it.  We got the name of a stone supplier from one of our neighbors, so Jonathan and I decided to have a date night and do some shopping around.  We went to Z Stone in South Bend and were pleased that they had a large warehouse with samples of the stone.  They also had full and partial slabs and remnants available to purchase. And then it happened…

I saw the marble.

It was over.  I fell in love.  I have never really considered myself a marble lover.  In fact, sometimes I think it looks old ladyish.  When we were looking for bathroom tile, I tended to steer away from it.  I’m not sure why…maybe because it has been used in some really BAD ways.  However, when I saw these marble slabs in person, I knew they would be so beautiful in our house. Both of the employees there warned us of the etching and staining.  We decided to take a sample home and test it out.  We did everything you’re not supposed to do.  We cut on it, we squeezed a lemon on it, etc.  We saw the scratches and the etching and still…we knew it was right for us. We decided to use it for our island which is the largest countertop in our house.  We went with a honed finish instead of polished because it tends to wear a little better and I liked the more matte look.

I’ve decided you have to either be o.k. with the imperfections or not.  It does wear easily, but it’s kinda like a pair of jeans.  The more you wear them, the better they get.  If you want a shiny countertop that always looks perfect, marble is not for you.  It was definitely the right choice for us and we are so happy with it!  We just have to choose not to be bothered by the imperfections.

We used marble on our kitchen island, our master bathroom counter, the basement bathroom and Lainey’s bathroom.  We only used quartz in one place – the pantry! I still love it, but it was more expensive than the granite and marble.  We were able to find a remnant for the pantry and only had to pay for fabrication and installation.  We went with granite for the kitchen perimeter, boys bathroom and laundry room.

Our kitchen choices: steel gray granite in a leather finish and carrara marble.

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Basement bathroom…Dec. 19 basement vanity

Master Bathroom…

Kids Bathrooms…

And one more of the island. 🙂

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Choosing paint colors can be so overwhelming!  I spent hours staring at paint swatches, standing in Sherwin Williams and looking for pictures on Pinterest.  As we know, paint looks totally different when you get it on the wall. I really wanted our home to have a simple, comfortable feel.  In the past I have used pretty dramatic colors on our walls.  I’m certainly not afraid of color, I have just chosen a more simple pallette this time.  For our Great Room, Kitchen and most of the house I landed on Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams.  Here are a few pictures of how it looks on the walls.  It is a light, warm gray…almost a clay color.  I like that it blends well with our darker gray (SW Iron Ore) on the cabinetry, doors and railing, but it also looks nice against our wood floors. Dec. 19 catwalkjan. 9 great room

In our bedroom, we took a risk by painting our ceiling a darker gray (SW Grizzly Gray).  I like that it adds some drama and sets off the crown molding.

jan. 6 master ceiling

The back wall is also a darker gray (SW) and the remaining three walls are SW Passive.

jan. 11th master drums

Aren’t the pendant lights gorgeous!?! I love them!.  It’s hard to tell from the picture, but they have a large crystal hanging in the middle and a smaller one on the bottom.

Our kitchen cabinets and all of our trim is painted in SW Snowbound.  I decided on this white because it works well with gray and doesn’t have a yellow hue to it.  It is close to a bright white, but has a little more pearl to it.  You can see more of it in my post about cabinets!  Here is a glimpse of our foyer and catwalk with the railing painted in SW Snowbound and SW Iron Ore.

Basement Dwellers

Today is our ONE YEAR Anniversary of living with my parents in their basement!!!mom and dad

Although it has been a crazy whirlwind of a year, here is what I know to be true today:
1. We have way too much stuff. We have lived a whole year without the two storage units full of STUFF that we own. It’s ridiculous, really. I’m looking forward to giving a bunch of STUFF away when we move in and just keeping the things that are meaningful!;)
2. God is so GOOD and I am so thankful that He is in control!! I have so much of a greater understanding of that after a year of learning to trust Him more. He has provided more than we could have ever asked for or imagined. He has used this time to refine us and build us up in Him! (Next time I’m an emotional wreck, please remind me of this truth!!)
3. Living with your parents is an amazing BLESSING!!😊 I am actually getting kinda sad about moving out…feeling like I want to soak up every last minute of being here with them! I know we all will cherish this time with them! So thankful and BLESSED!💗

Stone Fireplace

The Fireplace.  It is the centerpiece of our great room.  We knew that we wanted it to make a statement.  In early house discussions, I asked Jonathan what he wanted the most in our new house and he said “a big, stone fireplace” (my answer was a big kitchen island!). When we were in the process of drawing up our house plans, he had the idea of making the fireplace double-sided. We love that it can be enjoyed from the Great Room and the Dining Room.  We looked at many options for the gas unit and decided on the 42″ Escape model from Heat & Glo.  We liked this model because there are no louvers (borders, grates) around the edges, making the viewing and see-through area larger. We purchased this and had it installed by Warsaw Masonry.

We knew that we wanted to use cultured stone to save on cost.  We wanted to take the stone all the way up to our ceiling (18′) so we knew it would cost quite a bit less than real stone.  We had a hard time finding the style and color that we wanted.  We finally decided to check out J & N Stone in Wakarusa, IN.  We walked in and saw a model in their showroom.  It was exactly what we wanted.  It took me about 5 seconds to say “that’s it!” The color and style we chose is called “Price Quartz”.  J&N installed this for us and we were very happy with how it turned out!

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Oct. 30

A little later with our barn beam mantle (and the kids testing out our new cowhide rug) :)… Also, you’ll notice that the look is a lot lighter when the grout dries!

Dec. 13 fireplace

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Here is where I like to enjoy the fireplace these days…

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Cabinet Day!

This has been our favorite day so far!! Praise Jesus – our cabinets are going in!  I have been “can’t sleep, think about it all the time, giddy in a dorky way” excited about this day for some time now. 🙂 I think it’s because when you get cabinets, it actually feels like a house.  Until now, there hasn’t been anything defining the space like this.  Cabinets make our home feel so “homey”!

We have been so impressed with our cabinet makers.  My friend Paula (who is also an interior designer) connected me with Lee and Jerry Bontrager of Country Furniture Restoration in Nappanee, IN.  They worked with me from the beginning designing a completely custom kitchen, pantry, laundry and bathrooms.  They are meticulous and the quality of their work is outstanding.  They gave me a little preview back in August before painting and installation.  This was at their workshop…

And this was on installation day…

One of the things I debated about, but really wanted was inset doors.  When we looked at floor models, we were always bothered by how the doors didn’t line up or there were large gaps between the cabinet and the door.  With Lee and Jerry, I had no concerns about this.  They made sure that everything fit right and it turned out beautifully.  If we had gone with a boxed cabinet I wouldn’t have felt “safe” with this option.  I am so glad we were able to do it!  We originally made the stove top area and mantle above a standard 36″.  I made the decision to widen it to about 42″ so that it would look more substantial and I’m so glad I did.  I think the wider space made a big difference.  Our doors and drawers are soft-close.  It was an add-on and cost a little extra, but I love how they function.  When we eventually put our appliances in, everything fit like a glove.

My dreams of a white kitchen are coming true and I couldn’t be happier! 🙂

Most of our cabinetry and trim is painted in SW Snowbound.  It is a pearly white that works beautifully throughout the house.  We decided to have our island and great room cabinets painted in the same SW Iron Ore gray as our doors and great room beams.  This provides a good contrast in the kitchen.  The rest of our island is getting installed a little later.  Because of the size of our counter top (112″x 74″), we had to build another set of cabinets in the island to support the weight of the top.  (I guess this is a good example of things you learn along the way…when you have a hard surface countertop, typically they will only let about 12″ go unsupported.) We have legs on our island, but there was too much space between the original cabinet base and the legs.  Even though it is an added expense, more storage is always a good thing.

Here is the laundry room (with a clothes chute from Lainey’s room!) and the mudroom lockers:


1-28-16: Here’s a more recent picture of the kitchen (before the backsplash was installed).  You can see the contrast of the gray and white and also where the extra cabinet was added.  Originally we had the cabinet with the microwave, but nothing to the right of it.  We added the extra row of cabinets underneath flush with that cabinet, in front of the barstools.  They have cabinet doors so I can store seasonal dishes and serving pieces.  

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My Vintage Loft Love Affair

The majority of our main level flooring is wood, so I wanted to pick something that I really loved and knew I would love for a long time.  Our style is modern farmhouse (I’m more farmhouse, Jonathan is more modern).  I looked around for awhile and most of the floors I looked at I found to be either too formal or a little too rustic for what we wanted. When I finally found the Vintage Loft flooring that we chose, I knew it was the one!  It was a little more expensive than some of the others we were looking at, but the style was exactly what I wanted. We wanted a wide plank (7-8″) with some distressing.  We wanted it to be durable and not easily scratched.  The Vintage Loft flooring has an oiled finish, which is different from typical hardwood.  I had to read up on the care and maintenance of this type of flooring.  It takes a special kind of cleaner meant only for oiled floors.  (The cleaner we like is Bona for oiled floors).  It is also helpful to polish the floors every few months. What I love about our floor is that it really looks like an old farmhouse.  It has natural knots and grain, as well as wire scraping. The color we chose is called “Bricktown”.  It is a little hard to tell from the pictures, but you can see more on their website here.


They also look really great with a sleeping puppy on them. 🙂 (This picture was added later…a few months after we moved in.)

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Jonathan decided to install the flooring himself to save money (about $4,000!).  It was a really long week…I think he questioned his decision a few times. 😉  But in the end it was sooo worth it!  They look great and we feel really good about the money saved.  He borrowed some tools from friends and had the help of family.  I love how proud he looks in this picture.

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We LOVE these floors!  They look great and seem to work really well with an active family.

Insider Tip:  If you decide to install these floors on your own (or any wide plank flooring), it is best to glue the floor down as well as nail it.  We only nailed the floor and regret not gluing it.  We have quite a few places that are creaky.  Oh well…it just adds to the old farmhouse feel, right?! 😉