December 16, 2018

King of Christmas Collaboration- Flocked Pencil tree

I can't believe it's been an entire year since I last wrote on this blog. There have many so many changes, progressions, setbacks and events I'd love to share. But for now, I just wanted to show y'all one of my Christmas trees for this year, alittle background about it and why I am in love with it! Generously enough, King of Christmas sent me this 9ft prince flock pencil tree this year to decorate! I've never had the privilege of owning a KOC tree but I have always heard just rave reviews about the company and their products. I will say that they did not disappoint. Although my shipment was alittle late and from what I understand, most people get their trees at lightning speeds... I am still just as impressed! In my previous years, I've owned (and still do) artificial trees from Walmart, our local Potterys and even some big box stores. Overall, they were just fine but there will always be reasons for the prices difference variations such as how many lights, LED or not, realistic branches, etc.

The branches were much fuller than I expected and probably had double the amount that I expected. I've never not ordered a pre-lit tree so this was a first for me. I think next year I will definitely order a pre-lit tree but it wasn't too bad stringing the lights myself. I just like a lot of light! All the branches were super easy to handle and maneuver into any place I wanted them to go. I especially love the 9 foot pencil compared to your average usually and expected 7.5 foot tree. We have 9ft ceilings at the lowest point in our main room so it was a no brainer to *at least* get a 9ft pencil here. I also knew that I wanted a pencil or slim tree because we have another 9ft tree not shown in the photos that is a beast of a tree I will show you another day!

Overall, I am super pleased with the entire experience. If you could please let King of Christmas know on their social media pages including Instagram and their Facebook pages that Home by Ally sent you, I will greatly appreciate it. I highly recommend you browse through their entire selection of wreaths, artificial trees and Christmas accessories for next year. It's never too early to start planning!

This guy seriously has the life. He loves to lay on anything warm and anything in the sunshine. The chair today with the windows open and the sun beaming in must have been a no brainer for him.

As you can see here, I placed the tree against my bright white board and batten along with a natural wood mirror, some fresh greens and more bright white moldings. The sled was my late grandmothers and most things on the tree have been purchased at after Christmas sales, the Target dollar spot, our local Pottery and even Walmart. 

There is truly nothing like the warm glow of a Christmas tree in the evenings. It's even more beautiful reflecting in the natural wood mirror at the brightest and darkest times of the day. I decided to use most natural elements for this tree since it is smaller in size. I kept with the whites, creams & natural wood with pops of greenery throughout. I've been over the Christmas tree skirts for a few years and have opted for Christmas tree collars. My favorites are always the woven & willow natural like ones.

I always say this corner is my corner. I can be found here a lot with the window open, our fur babies piled on me reading, searching Pinterest or just chatting with a friend. Home to me, especially after this past year, has been so important to just make a sanctuary and a place of rest. Not so much a place that always looks 100% perfect or has all the things done you would like but just comfortable. That's what I want home to be for me and for others who come into my home...

Old and new, go together to create this curated, natural look. I've also opted for just plain brown craft/ butcher paper for a couple years. It is so much easier and versatile when it comes to what themes you'd like to tie in. It goes with virtually any color and always is available! I will have some monster truck and tractor wrapping paper under the tree closer to Christmas too though :)

By using a lot of textures in this tree, I really felt it was interesting to look at first and foremost and very eye catching as soon as you walked into the room. Our new wall color is Agreeable gray by Sherwin Williams. The board and batten was a DIY by me as were the window mantles. I'll soon be tackling the fireplace hearth and tile after I complete spraying our new kitchen cabinets & laying our "reclaimed" like wood floor. There have been endless, endless projects but I am so excited to give y'all a peek into my home after many requests for so long. 

Thank you again to King of Christmas for graciously sending me this beautiful tree. I simply cannot wait to work together again in the future and I truly hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! Please let me know what you think in the comments! I'd love to hear from y'all! 

December 10, 2017

Christmas Living Room 2017

Hi, y'all! It has been quite some time since I last blogged about where we are in life, our home and our little family. So much has changed, so much continues to change everyday and 2017 certainly has been a challenging but rewarding year for us.

To recap, we sold our beloved home in Florida to a very sweet, southern retired couple who wanted to make it their permanent retirement home. We loved that and really enjoyed working with them. We moved back to NC in April to move into an old family home that needed some work from what we remembered. However, not stepping foot in the home in a decade, we were surprised that it needed more work than what we could afford to do while also renovating it aesthetically. It just didn't feel right for us and although it was a heartbreaking decision because it was my late grandmothers home, I truly feel looking back now that God had a plan for us with our current home all along.

We were homeless for about 4 months total, living with my parents until we could figure out what direction to go next. Fast forward to June, my husband struggled to find decent work outside of the military that had a decent salary. While still looking for employment, he took a low paying job just to help our family. Enter my best friend since middle school mentioned to us that there was a foreclsoure across the street from her & her husband that was about to go on the market she thought. 

We went and visited her but really didn't think too much about the house although I did snap a picture of it in my phone back in May 2017. Little did we know it would go on the market well below what we thought we would have to spend. Enter probably 20-25 offers and a huge bidding war with others vs us and the bank and she was ours. However, if you've ever purchased or sold a home, you know how much paperwork, ins and outs and basically limbs you give up to get in the home. It felt nothing short of that. We worked tirelessly with a lender to make sure this home purchase went through. There were a couple times we thought we would have to back out but we made it happen on our own. Although, things have completely not gone as expected and financially, things have been incredibly different, we felt and still do feel so blessed to be able to have a home of our own on a decent bit of land. So....all the while, a very long year... with lots of stress and tears... but our sweet boy has truly made every dark time, happy, every tear has turned into a smile and every worry is put aside.

This home was built in 2011 and we purchased it as a foreclosure. Now, back in my days of being a real estate agent or Realtor, this was not a typical foreclosure. We didn't have tons of damage or anything crazy happen to the house. It just needed some TLC, some painting incredibly bad & some cleaning. Thank the Lord because those are all things that we can handle and do slowly. We closed on this home and God answered again by anew job for my husband. One that he stated before we even put our home the market that he would be interested in. So, he had an interview and got the job the same day! God is so good and really answered our continuous prayers. He thoroughly enjoys his job  now and feels like he can make a difference and that's what any spouse wants for the other.

So, eventually I want to "brick" the fireplace where the current black tile is. I'd love to use the reclaimed brick veneer tiles, possibly in a herringbone pattern to give the fireplace some color, character and depth. But right now, we are just trying and adjusting to getting back on our feet. For now, we are trying to embrace the imperfection and the in between pretty phases and hope you will too! We are learning what I've said for years is to love the home you're with and enjoy where you are. Someone else might have a beautiful custom dream home but that may be their step 5 while we may be on step 1 or step 2. So, remember progress... not perfection. 

I found the mirror below at Marshalls here locally and had to have it as soon as I saw it! I am sucker for a salvage natural wood look and you will see a lot of that finish in our home.

My husband and I also were blessed enough to find a 9' flocked Christmas tree at our local pottery on sale! I sold a few things and was able to pay for it in full just by selling items we weren't using! 

Every year, I shop after Christmas sales for my ornaments. I obviously will buy something before Christmas if I really love it but this is the time where I get the bulk of my items for Christmas decor.

We also can't wait to lay some laminate or hardwood floors down! It is going to make such a difference in this house & will make it appear twice as big I feel! But since I am not one to do things half way, we are trying to save and do the entire house at once or at least start by finding something we can afford! We've been eyeing the Pergo Outlast 24 hour laminate and also some hardwoods. We also are looking into vinyl planks! That will for sure transform this house.

Anyways, I told myself this year I wouldn't make it about all the "pretty." I would enjoy being in the moment with our almost ONE year old if you can believe that and make some essential time to myself too. I hope y'all enjoyed these photos of our current living room and we cannot wait to share the progress as we start to dig into making this home ours. Thanks for stopping by!

June 2, 2017

We SOLD our home!

Not sure if anyone else realized it but its been 6 months since I wrote a blogpost! Not such a large surprise considering our little man came about 2 weeks after my last post! And we've just been soaking up every minute with hints the hiatus!

Since we've last talked, there have been so many life changes for our little family! The first is obviously Mr. Landon Joseph, our sweet and adorable baby boy! Landon was born on December 11th weighing 7lbs 8oz and 19" long! He has completely stolen our hearts & we just look forward to everyday because of him!

Also, when Landon was only about 2-2/12 months old, it came time for us to put our beloved Florida home on the market. We've been making plans for a long time for Ryan to say goodbye to active duty and hello to reserves... but first let's go back to September of 2013 when we first purchased this sweet little cottage that was only a few blocks from the beach. These were photos I snapped right before we really jumped into turning this place into ours!

Not to shabby right? But not exactly my style. It just needed some personality! So we started with the exterior. We had so many things we wanted to do but our budget wasn't exactly expansive so we tried to be as frugal as we could. The exterior soon looked like this....

Remember the before...


And finally the photos that really everyone always asked for. I was alittle scared to show everyone your home but it was ours, nonetheless. There were things we didn't get to do but my goodness did we put some love and sweat equity into this place. Fast forward a couple years, too many projects to name, a lot of memories and good times and this was how our home looked when we put it on the market.  Enjoy the photos below from being on the market. We found great buyers who even purchased a lot of our furniture. We were thrilled that they choose our house and 
we hope they enjoy it for years to come. 

Below, you can see we painted the entire exterior. Replaced the roof, added house numbers, added shutters, added a bird house, extensive custom landscaping, a hurricane rated leaded glass door, brand new double hung dual pane low E windows, new exterior lighting, tore out the dated concrete planters in the front and our landscaping matured....

As you entered our home, we had a living room that we used as a formal living space & the sunroom is where we spent the majority of our family time. Never the less, first impressions are everything and walking into our home was a breathe of fresh air to me everyday. It was happy, calm and just light and bright... just the way I liked it!

Although the kitchen was small, we made the most use of our space with the 42" maple cabinets. We updated the cabinets by having them professionally sprayed bright white, added new hardware, added great decor, upgraded the lighting, regrouted the floor tiles, painted the ceilings and walls & also added USB outlets to this space.

Here's the before...

And the after of how we left it...

The sunroom is where we spent the majority of our time. We added crown molding to the entire space, added impact rated windows, a custom door header and tongue and groove planks to the largest walls & the cased opening walls. We capped off each set of planks with a ledge for leaning any decor you wish! We also painted this room about 342353 different colors. I settled on Balanced Beige by Sherwin Williams and that's how we left it.

We also added cast iron hooks near the door to the outdoor patio. This was essential for us for leashes, purses and jackets, etc. In a small home, any type of storage is essential and we found this worked out tremendously for everyday functionality.

Next was our master bedroom. We added crown molding, the custom board & batten wall treatment, the windows were replaced in this room, we added a ceiling fan, added a custom closet system you can't see and we painted the walls Oatlands Subtle Taupe by Valspar. 

Although the master bath was small, it created a huge impact with a walk in tiled shower. We really just added our touch in here....

The before...

And the after...we painted it Asiago by Valspar, added a new light fixture, regrouted the tile, added shelving for storage and got a new shower curtain!

Below is our guest bedroom. It was a yellow color when we moved in. We also painted it Oatlands Subtle Taupe, added new windows, upgraded the lighting & crown molding and gave it some much needed umph with a custom made tongue and groove pine barn door on a barn track! This was a hit of course with all of the prospective buyers and their agents.

Our sweet boys room was also the same yellow color when we moved in. We upgraded the lighting, did a complete overhaul of the closet in here by adding a closet system and doing custom closet doors. We also replaced the windows in here and added crown molding. 

 The guest bath was the only project we never really got to. It had floor to ceiling slate tile. While some folks loved it, I felt it was heavy and definitely wanted a change! But I definitely worked with what I had when we lived there. We still opted to put up a cute shower curtain, got a new light fixture and added some board & batten for some much needed towel storage!

Hope y'all enjoyed our final home tour! We are now back in NC and planning our next move! I can't wait to show y'all what we've been up to and what is coming next!

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We SOLD our home!

Not sure if anyone else realized it but its been 6 months since I wrote a blogpost! Not such a large surprise considering our little man cam...