On Growing in Love with Your Home

We've owned our home now for about 16 months, but have lived here for 15 months, so I thought I'd share some photos my friend Ashley took of us in our house to celebrate our one year home-versary! 

If you remember, I actually was visiting my family in California when my husband came and saw and then made an offer on our house. I facetimed him during his walkthrough, but that's all I had to go off of. You can imagine my anxiety ;) You can read more about that experience here and get all our house hunting details. 

I first saw our new house on the day of the inspection. When I walked in from the side door, I immediately saw a couple things that I wasn't a huge fan of. I tried to remain calm. It didn't check a lot of my "must-haves". I was getting nervous. As I toured the house, I noticed it was a lot smaller than I expected and had some quirks, but I kept reminding myself of the potential. Lots of deep breaths! We can do this.

 We spent 6 weeks fixing up the house (read: painted every room, taking out a bulkhead from the bathroom, painting kitchen cabinets, adding built ins to the living room, etc.) until our apartment lease was up and we had to make the move. I've shared this before, but I found it so interesting how sad I was to leave our apartment. It was just a one bedroom little place, but it's where we moved in together after our wedding and all of that. It held a lot of memories. I get so attached to the places I live, even places I didn't love the look of, because I pour my heart into making it as much of a home as I can. Does anyone relate? I highly recommend this because although it makes leaving harder, it makes living there all the more enjoyable. It's amazing how much you can make a place feel like home with some little, sweet touches. 

So when we moved in, while I was grateful for our house, it didn't feel like us yet. It definitely didn't feel like home. Everyone kept asking me "don't you just love your new house?" and "I bet you're so glad to be in a larger space and out of your apartment!" The thing was, I didn't love our house (yet) and I actually really missed our apartment! I felt so guilty about this, especially because of how much work my husband was putting into the house. I felt like I should love it more right away.

But like a lot of things, love grows over time. Not only did we fix up some areas of the house that wasn't very pleasing, but also just living here and unpacking our stuff, getting a few new pieces, making memories, having friends over, meeting neighbors...it all helped me come to love this little house! 

 Lincoln sure is glad we have more space in our house than the apartment! I couldn't get over how he curled up in my lap for these pictures. 

This is definitely my favorite room in the house. It's SO bright, almost all day long!

Probably the most radical change in our house was our backyard renovation. It has brought us so much joy because it feels like we expanded our living space! We've had lots of friends over for dinner out here, hosted a little sip and see, and are hosting a baby shower in September out here. One of the things on my wish list when house hunting was I wanted space enough to entertain and host. It's one of my greatest joys! I was so thankful we could made a space for this in the backyard.

Seeing it transform from a pile of dirt and weeds to our little oasis has been so fun. I still can't believe my husband pulled it all off!

This little area with the shutters (my friend made them + our window box!) is a favorite of mine.
 Lincoln's face above kills me. He is not photogenic ;)

I'm so thankful for our home and to live here with handsome husband of mine. We've made a sweet little home together and along the way, McCann has found that he's extremely handy and loves projects! That's music to my ears ;) 

I can promise you this; one day when we leave our little three bedroom ranch, I will miss it. Lots.


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Our Backyard Reveal

Phew! It's been a couple weeks, hasn't it?! I can tell you it's really hard going from not busy to extremely busy again! Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for the work, but I do feel tired more easily after months of laying low. Does anyone else feel that way? Just had to ask before I dive in to today's post.

I'm so excited about being back on the blog today with our backyard renovation reveal. The only proper way to start the post is by showing you the before of our yard. We have a couple photos we took, but I'll also share the listing photos of the backyard (some with snow and some with no snow). I'll also remind you that the previous owner told us there was a "beautiful lawn" under the snow, since we bought it when there was snow on the ground. LOL. There was zero grass, it was all dirt and weeds ;) I'm not saying they were lying, maybe the grass died that winter...ha! 


We started with no fence, no grass, no deck. 

We could see our neighbor's garage (my least favorite thing about the house was being so close to our neighbors). The fence helped though!!

My husband built this fence before we even moved in. That was key for me ;) This is ALL WEEDS that you see here. You might also notice we had the tree in the middle of the yard taken out. We did this for safety reasons, because the roots were touching the foundation and the branches were sprawled over our entire house and garage, making it risky in storms. The big brown patch in the yard is where the tree was taken out.

This was on the morning that we had our landscaper even out the yard. You can also see we built our little flower bed in the back.

The only thing we hired out was having the yard graded and seeded. We did everything else ourselves, which saved a ton of money!

Alrighty, are you ready to see?! 


We did a 6' fence all around the yard, then a 4' fence from the garage to the house so that we could see over it, but still contain Lincoln. This is that smaller fence with a gate into the yard.

I painted the shed white with a gray/blue door color and it's SUCH an improvement! It's still not totally done (I'd love to get new doors, handles, and fun hinges that stand out more), but it's done for this year ;)

When you are standing at the gate and turn to the left, you see our new deck! My husband and our family friend built this with their own four hands and I'm so proud of him. It's changed our living so much, because now we're able to sit outside for meals, even when it's sunny, thanks to the umbrella!

I really didn't want to do rails around the deck because the fence is so close (probably 4' away from where the deck ends) so we decided to do these giant flower beds and I love how they turned out! They act as railing and then we left the rest as open stairs. On the deck we did a gray table with woven chairs. I'm not giving lots of close ups of these because they're no longer available and I didn't style this area much before my pictures. I just wanted to get it done for you :)

In these planter beds I did Hibiscus in the taller ones, since they'll grow taller each year and eventually give us more privacy from our neighbors house, which is super close to ours (ugh, but what can you do?!) And in the lower bed I did a combo of some colorful annuals in addition to my basil and rosemary on the end: dahlias, petunias, violet pansies (edible, kinda fun!), and snap dragons. On the steps I have mint and lavender. Don't plant mint in a bed with other flowers!! It takes over.

We strung up lights to give it a cozy feel at night!

Here's my basil and rosemary.

These dahlias are doing amazing!! Just blooming like crazy. I wouldn't normally do red or orange in a garden, but I wanted to tie in my red/orange hibiscus plants in the taller planter, so I sprinkled some in below here. I actually think it looks really pretty and cheerful!

On the side of the garage we added shutters and a window box, made by my friend Anna at GR Project Shop. They added so much personality and gave our boring old garage something special. 

We also added trellis' on either side with moon flower, which is like morning glory, growing up the vine! I can't wait until it starts flowering.

The back of the yard has our flower bed and my cut flower garden.

In here I have (from left to right) a lilac tree, two boxwoods, a hydrangea, my heirloom garden rose, a blue hydrangea, a couple hosta and a peony. In the front are annuals-- impatiens and petunias.

My neighbor gave this to me in April when she was transplanting some from her yard that she wanted to clear out. I didn't think it'd flower, but low and behold!!

This is the garden rose. The variety is called Gentle Hermione.
They smell SO fragrant!

To the right of that, by the shed, is the cut flower garden. I have a bunch of varieties in here. The tall ones in the front are zinnias, there are cosmos, aster, phlox, scabiosa, snap dragon, amaranth, lupine and more dahlias (they'll bloom last probably). The goal of a cutting garden is to keep your home filled with flowers! So the more you cut, the more will grow. It's going to be fun! They're just starting.

This is the flower bed under our dining room window, to the left of the deck. It has hydrangea, snow ball viburnum, astilbe (not doing well though ha), two hosta, and then some annuals-- impatiens and petunias.

This lavender hydrangea has my heart big time!

Here it is a little later at night with the lights.

And a cute shot from when Ashley took some photos for us!

It's not perfect and our lawn is still coming in in some areas, but we love it and we're so happy with how it turned out! I can't wait to keep growing pretty flowers back here. I just love coming back here each night to water and sit on the deck. Lincoln is also a happy camper. Look at that form ;)

He could play fetch all day back here! We also just got a smokeless fire pit I'll have to tell you about sometime. But it's so awesome! We've been doing smores probably too much ;)

Thanks for stopping by to see the transformation!

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PS. Happy birthday, Mom!! I love you!

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