Renovation in Rhinebeck!

My husband, Aaron, and I bought a house in Rhinebeck on a whim. We drove up to the charming city near the Hudson River and looked at three properties shown to us by a highly recommended realtor. None of the three were right for us, but we passed by a home with a 'For Sale' sign. Our realtor said she wasn't able to show it to us that day. Not wanting to make the drive up again, I sneakily called the number on the sign after leaving her. I explained to the realtor who picked up the number that we were only up for one day, but were very interested in seeing the house. It took a bit of convincing, but the realtor was able to let us in and we saw it within an hour. 

 The home was perfect for our needs. Our primary goal for the property was to rent it on Airbnb and the location to the village center, distance to Amtrak station and large plot of land fit our needs. We placed a bid on the property that night. We had a super fast sale process as the sellers forced us to use local lenders and council. Everyone knew each other at the closing! We were the outsides, but all at the table were very kind. The date of closing was 6/29/2018.

 We quickly found a contractor recommended by our realtor and got to work. In my optimistic brain, I thought the work we wanted done would take one month. I had absolutely nothing to base that on, but sheer hope. 

 The list was as follows: 
1. Full upstairs bath renovation 
2. Pulling up wall to wall carpeting and dealing with whatever was underneath. 
3. Painting every square inch. 
4. New bathroom vanity in the first floor powder room 
5. Kitchen face lift including- painting cabinets, new hinges and pulls, new floor, new counter. 
6. Breezeway renovation- we had no idea how much work was needed yet, but something had to be done! 
7. Painting the upstairs doors and installing new door knobs. 

 After the closing, we raced to the house (a mile away) to get started. I was planning on having the contractor do everything since we didn't live in the area, but we figured we'd spend our first night there. The owners left us a great mattress so we felt right at home!

Anxious to see what the floor looked like underneath, we pulled up a piece of carpet. The floors looked great! Aaron and I just kept on going.

Here's the living room when we saw the house: 

Here's what it looked like when we pulled up the carpet! Look at that shine! We saved money by pulling up the carpet by ourselves and didn't end up needing to refinish it. It was hard work, but totally worth it. Our 3 year old son had a blast carrying out old carpet to the garage. 

This is the living room now! It's amazing how you forget about all of the little things needed to make a room feel comfortable. The painter took down all of the blinds and threw them away. That was something we had to go back in and install. Finding the correct widths for blinds in an old house is hard! This picture was taken before installing curtains as well. Finding the right length, amount, etc. Another headache! But worth it in the end. 

Our powder room needed minimal work. Once we painted the walls white and the trim grey. It looked many times better. However, the original vanity was a disgrace. It was way too big for the space. I chose the smallest one on the market and now you can walk into the room without hitting your hip on a sharp corner. 

The old mirror was fine so we just painted it the same color as the window trim. Oh yeah, that paint was free! We had a few things in the house we wanted grey and our contractor had some left over. I bought the sconces towards the end of the renovation when money wasn't seeming as plentiful as when we started. They were $5 on Amazon! 

The final chapter on the first floor was the kitchen. It had this gross carpet on the floor so we knew that wasn't going to cut it for our guests. The most cost effective and easiest thing was to install vinyl planks. I had my heart set on grey herringbone and it came out great! 

The other side of the kitchen held the washer dryer. We thought about building a wall, but I fell in love with the idea of just having a shelving unit from Ikea act as a divider. 

It's hard to tell, but the faux wood was grey. I considered keeping it, but thought it would have clashed with the grey floor and white washed it. Eventually we'd like to add a bench to the empty wall. 

All of the bedrooms upstairs got whitewashed, doors painted and we installed the black doorknobs ourselves! It was the easiest job and had the most impact. 

Bedrooms are as follows. This: 

Became this: 

And this: 

Became this: 

My favorite bedroom is this: 

To this: 

Lastly, the bathroom needed an almost full reno. We didn't touch the wood paneling since that can open a giant can of worms, but we pretty much did everything else. As many who know me know, I am obsessed with black and white. The bathroom was the most fun part of the house to design. My black and white bathroom dreams came true! We used black grout to keep things looking fresh at all times. I started the project going crazy with fancy floor tile and then quickly switched to this inexpensive oversized tile once I saw the floor's price tag. 

I also downsized the vanity to give more space to the room. This room and the hallway had these really weird square lights that were inset into the ceiling. Because of the size it would have been costly to get a new light fixture and patch the ceiling. A quick coat of black paint gave the lights new life! 

Oh wait. There's more! The breezeway linking the house to the garage was a whole project in and of itself. We ripped up the green faux grass 'carpet' and found a crumbling mess of cement. Our hopes of just painting the cement were squashed and we decided to lay down a floor of plywood and stain it a lovely grey. 

Future dreams for this room include painting the ceiling white, stringing up some dreamy lights (already purchased and sitting in the attic) and filling that wall with mirrors. 

This project was fun, a little stressful and we learned a ton along the way! Our home is filled with so much love and is listed on Airbnb. We hope you stay with us! 

Getaway: Savannah!

Savannah has to be the most beautiful, chicest cities I have ever been to. It feels like Brooklyn’s upscale genteel sibling. Obviously the architecture is incredible. The Spanish moss draped trees are breathtaking and the abundance of little squares, inspiring. In addition to all of the historic eye candy, I have a feeling the Savannah College of Art and Design plays a huge role in setting the fun and cool tone of the city.

To Stay:
There is no shortage of places to lay your head in this city. The heart and soul of Savannah lies in the historic district so staying in that area is a must. Here are a few favorites:

The Marshall House- 123 E Broughton St.
Set in a landmark building dating to 1851, this hotel is located on a main thoroughfare filled with restaurants and shopping.   

The Mansion on Forsyth Park- 700 Drayton St.
Housed in a Victorian Romanesque mansion that used to be a private home, this hotel is where you go for a top dollar experience. The stunning Forsyth Park is right across the street set in a beautiful Victorian neighborhood.

The Brice- 601 E Bay St
Located across form Emmet Park and a block hotel, this boutique hotel is the chicest and most artistically minded place yet. The rooms are contemporary and the restaurants are fantastic in their own right.

Eating and Drinking:

Every block has a place for consumption that is more charming than the next. It’s hard to pick a few, but here they are.

The Grey- 109 Martin Luther King Blvd
Set in a refurbished Greyhouse bus depot, The Grey has maintained the buildings’ integrity while adding a few modern touches. It’s probably the most beautifully designed space I have been to in a while. A large outdoor space is open during the day if you need a break from all of that fantastic interior design. The food and drink menu is quite elevated serving a variety of farm to table specialties.

Soho South Café- 12 W Liberty St
This Daniel Reed restaurant has captured the perfect shabby chic vibe. Housed in an old automobile factory, the front room has a vintage bar and huge window to look out. The back room is set in a huge loft-like space with trees, hanging lights and enough mismatched chairs to go around. This place oozes charm. The large menu covers all comfort foods and classic Southern favorites.

The Coffee Fox- 102 W Broughton St
You will wish your town has a cute and charming coffee shop like this. Selling locally roasted brews, pastries and desserts, The Coffee Fox also offers cheese, wine and beer. It’s eclectic style and arty atmosphere makes this a great place to tuck in for the afternoon and people watch.

Planters Tavern- 23 Abercorn St
This tavern located in the cellar of the famed, Olde Pink House, Planters is steeped in history. The building was originally a residence and then housed Georgia’s first bank and is the perfect dark, cozy spot for a few drinks.  With a full wine and cocktail menu, food can be ordered from the superb Olde Pink house upstairs.

To Do:

Wormsloe Historic Site
Take a short trip to the outskirts of Savannah and head to the Wormsloe Plantation. The main attraction at the site is a 1.5 mile long oak avenue. It’s worth the trip just to get pictures of the towering oak trees covered in Spanish moss. You’ll feel transported back in time with every step. Be sure to check out their walking trail, historic site and fort ruins.   

Sightseeing tours
There is no shortage of ways to get to know Savannah’s rich history. Take your pick of tours from walking, bus, carriage and even a riverboat cruise to gain a vast overview of the city from it’s skilled historians.

For me, the main draw of Savannah is the incredible architecture. I did something I have never done on a vacation before- I attended an open house. Instead of walking the neighborhoods wondering what these beauties looked like inside, I received a glance up close.

Stipes and Leopard!

In the garden

Dress: Free People
Necklaces: Zacasha
Shoes: Gentle Souls

Emerald Dress

Gifts That Give Back!

Helping others is usually at the forefront of our minds during the holiday season. I think it should be there all the time, but figured now is a good time to post about a few brands that help others through their sales. Check it out! 

Ways of Change
WoC designs a collection of fashion forward jewelry and accessories 
Handmade by Burmese refugee artisans who earn a fair living wage
Sales help to fund community development projects and entrepreneurial trainings     within these refugee settlements that WoC works with


Tuli sells jewelry that’s handmade in Uganda made by single women.    It helps fight poverty by creating long-term fair-waged jobs in a country that has an extremely high       unemployment rate. 
The jewelry is made using recycled paper beads. The artisans salvage paper, roll it into beads and hand paint the beads and attach them to fine chains. 
The prices range from $8-$50. 

High-end beautifully constructed men’s and women’s tees.  
Uniform creates jobs for women in West Africa. All products are made at a fair-trade factory in Liberia where 95% of employees are working mothers. 
With each Uniform purchase, a school uniform will be donated to a child in Liberia who otherwise could not attend school. 

Palm dress: blending in

Dress: Levi's x Opening Ceremony 
Blazer: Mango
Socks: Pretty Polly
Shoes: Reed Krakoff
Bag: Zimmerman

Similar styles:

Sale Scouting: The best riding boots!

I know it's skin drippingly hot out there and impossible to think about winter footwear, but boots are on sale! I usually like to buy off season for things I know I'll want later. I have been on the hunt for the perfect riding boot. They are comfortable and a super chic way to cover up your calf from the cold. A few are less than $100! 

Chambray and lace!