More Before and After Pics, and a Fun Announcement!

While we were in the middle of fixing up our house this summer, I ended up doing a ton of work to various furniture pieces that we had acquired one way or another.  We were in need of several furniture pieces when we moved in, and we were able to get them at a reasonable cost, but many of them were, well, ugly.

Exhibit A:

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This was a beat up credenza that was falling apart and definitely had a 1970’s vibe to it.  A guy at a local secondhand furniture place told me I would be doing him a favor if I took it off his hands.  So I did.  I couldn’t figure out why it had been sitting in his store for so long.  I guess no one thought of painting it coral:

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It fits perfectly in our entryway and is a great storage piece for games and art supplies. 

Here’s a few more transformed projects:

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Amazing what a little paint and a lot of patience will do!  I actually love our new bedroom furniture and it makes me happy to know I had a hand in recreating an ugly, outdated piece.

I know this one doesn’t seem to have much potential.  But I picked it up at a yard sale for $1.00.  Crazy!  How could I not at least give it a shot?  A little paint, a new shelf to replace the broken drawer, some new hardware and cute baskets. . .

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And voila!  We have a pretty dresser that fits perfectly in Bryn’s room!

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Switching gears slightly, I want to introduce you to one of my favorite people on earth:

2-IMG_0861This is my friend LaRonda.  We’ve known each other nearly 20 years.  She is Canadian, I am from Michigan, we both married Lancaster County Boys and ended up living just a few blocks from each other in Pennsylvania during our newlywed years.  Through a crazy, long, nearly unbelievable series of events, we moved to Ohio, then they moved to Ohio.  We settled in Urbana, they settled in Marysville.  We moved to Michigan, they came to visit.  We got a call to join a church in Marysville, we called Tim and LaRonda and started our conversation with, “You guys won’t even believe this. . .” When we told them we were moving to Marysville, we all started cracking up and saying, “What are the chances??”

SO.  Now I am living just 3 minutes from one of my best friends.  She is creative, smart, funny, and full of great ideas.  She likes to create.  I like to create.  I like big picture stuff; she likes details.  I think in big, bold colors; she is drawn toward sophisticated, understated design.  After much discussion, prayer, dreaming, budgeting, and just a teeny bit of anxiety, LaRonda and I have decided to jump into a business together.  Which brings me to my announcement:

LaRonda and I are now business partners and co-owners of Birch Tree Studio:

BTS small logoWe are reclaiming furniture most people are overlooking and working hard to make it beautiful again.  Here’s a few of our favorite pieces:

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We have been working in my garage, which we have claimed as our studio:

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And, well, I’ve never had so much fun in my life.  We would be honored if you would click over to our facebook page and follow us!  I have just started posting some pictures over there and we will also keep you posted on upcoming sales and events where we will be setting up our goods.

So there you have it.  I’ve been a busy little beaver over the last few weeks as we’ve jumped in headfirst. I am super excited about this new stage of life and I hope you’ll join me on this fun adventure!

Aaaand We’re Home.

We moved to Marysville the second week of July, signed on the new house and got to work right away.  My summer was spent making trips to Lowe’s, getting very acquainted with the people at the paint desk, and painting until I thought my arms might fall off.  So today, I am sharing with you some of the before and after pictures of our new home.  We still have plenty to do, but oh the progress we’ve made!  I had fun looking through the “before” pictures just to see how far we’ve come in less than 2 months.

The first thing we did when we got the keys to the house was take up a corner of the (ugly, stinky, dog-stained) carpet.  As you can imagine, we were thrilled to find beautiful hardwood underneath!  We were less thrilled with the bazillion staples that held the carpet down!

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Trying to pull up all those staples was not a fun way to spend the day, but it had to be done!

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21-New House 042The next item of business was choosing a paint color.  That was hard!  I knew I wanted something in the gray family, but there are lots and lots of greys!  We did a bit of trial and error until we were happy with one.

14-New House 032My sister.  You guys.  She worked like an ox for days.  She was my faithful little painter and my much needed cheer and morale boost.  She put in a lot of hours!  Somehow, we found plenty to talk about while we worked. . .

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One of the more major projects we took on was a slight revision to the kitchen layout.  When we bought the house the fridge and pantry were in a weird position.  It might be tricky to tell from this picture, but when the fridge was opened, it nearly hit the counter top across from it. 

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It seemed to us that it would make a lot more sense if the fridge and the pantry could swap places.  We thought that would be easy.  BAHAHAHAHAHA!

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Thanks to the skilled (and free) labor of some very dear friends, the job got done.  But it was no easy task!

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We were so thrilled with the hardwood floor we discovered throughout the downstairs that we decided to see if our luck would hold out and reveal beautiful hardwood upstairs!  Um, NOPE.

24-New House 049Instead of beautiful hardwood, we found some very nasty floors, and a very large hole:

25-New House 051Once again, our friends came to the rescue and helped us patch and repair the floor then prep it for paint.

We did a lot of work, it’s true.  But, we had some fun while we were at it!  My in-laws were here for a day, my mom came and unpacked my kitchen, I caught up with some of my best friends over a can of paint, and before we knew it, the house started coming together and feeling like a home.  Enjoy the befores and afters!

Entryway Before:

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48-New House 09045-New House 08647-New House 089Downstairs Bathroom Before:

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This sweet little cabinet was just waiting for me at a local antique shop! Perfect for extra storage in a smallish bathroom.


Living Room Before:

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And After:

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Dining Room Before:

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And After:

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I framed my grandma’s handwritten recipes. A sweet way to honor my heritage and our shared love for the kitchen!

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Another find from the antique store! This cabinet is perfect as a coffee bar. . .I store coffee supplies and mugs and a few other things. Plus, I like to have a place to display my handsome rooster.


Kitchen Before:

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And After:

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We finally got the refrigerator and the pantry swapped and the floor plan makes much more sense now!

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Some of my favorite transformations happened upstairs.  First Ellie’s room before:

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My mom is sewing some curtains to put on the top of the closet to disguise some of the mess!

Bryn and Lydia are sharing a room.  They weren’t very happy about that at first, but they are enjoying it now.  The before:

10-New House 02111-New House 022And After:

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I took one step into their room and this is what I found. I decided I didn’t want to go any further! HA!

And finally, the master bedroom.  It was so very ugly (so much sponge paint!  Also, remember the floor?) Here is the before:

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Art work waiting to be hung

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Whew!  That’s a lot of pictures!  Believe it or not, I edited out a bunch more.  I think I’ll do another post just on all the furniture that I painted. . .but that’s another story!  I think it’s safe to say I’ll be taking a break from the painting for a while.  Thanks for visiting our new home. . .the coffee is always on, so stop by sometime!

Change. It’s a comin’. Again.

After a year of turmoil, then peace, then uncertainty, then turmoil, and now peace again, you won’t believe where we’re headed next:  Marysville, Ohio.  25 miles from where we started. 

That’s right.  Conrad has been offered an associate pastor position in a congregation we are already in love with.  The last few weeks have been a whirlwind as we went from no job on the horizon, to one phone call that changed everything.  We visited the church, Conrad preached a sermon, we had a question and answer time, and by Tuesday afternoon we had accepted the position.  The process went quickly, but we feel really good about it.  Our kids are excited and we are all looking forward to settling in and putting down some roots.  A home!  We feel like we can invest in this community for the rest of our lives and, well, we’re just so excited!

The downside of this is that I will be packing my boxes again soon, and I will be saying some hard good-byes.  But, knowing that we are going somewhere long-term is making all of this a bit easier.

I probably don’t have to tell you how happy I am to be heading back to where my sister lives.  I’ll be able to get to her house in the time it takes to brew a pot of coffee.  She can come to my girls’ band concerts.  I can watch her boys play basketball.  Unspeakable joy.  I can hardly believe it!

So, off we go.  We are finishing up the school year, collecting boxes, enjoying a few more weeks of my hometown, then heading south to the land we’ll call home.