Before & After: Part 1

So if you follow on insta, the cat is out of the bag…we have moved! Again! I hope someone out there is saying Bless her heart because moving and remodeling two homes in two years is, well, hell. BUT. Things happen as they may and here we are. Before I dive into our new adventure too much, I wanted to share some before and afters of the remodel we said goodbye to. Anyone interested in moving to the lovely little town of Edenton, this little gem of a house will be for sale at some point.

Front Exterior

This was her original curb appeal. Not bad. We redid the landscaping, planted lots of grass, etc.

We bought this house sort of on a whim. We like to do things like that. It is in one of the best locations downtown and has great water views. So anyway, we felt it would take a couple months and we would whip her in to shape. HAHAHAHAHAHA. It took 7 months. SEVEN. Oh yeah, and about half way through…guess what I’m pregnant! Anyway, it was sort of a nightmare but we all made it through.

Why did it take seven months you ask? I’m not even really sure. We had a dreadfully cold winter. It snowed multiple times (in eastern NC this is abnormal). The electrical work was a bear and it took a while to find someone to do it. Our carpenter worked after hours. We did a lot ourselves. Needless to say, it was a learning experience. Let’s get to it.

BEFORES – I don’t have that many. We start demo pretty much the first day we got the keys.

Before - LR Wall

Immediately we knew this wall had to go. BuhBye.

Before - Living Room

The glorious living room. Note: Covered in wallpaper. All cornflower blue trim. Everywhere. Positive note: good floors.

Before - Kitchen

Oh that kitchen. It is making me nauseous thinking about it.

Before - Middle Room

This is the other side to that wall we removed. SO MUCH WOOD.

Before - Sailboat Room

This wood was actually really pretty heart pine. I love the warmth of wood, but can’t handle the darkness.

So this isn’t the most enormous post ever. I will do the other half of the house later. Now for the good part.



To our surprise, there was a full chimney behind that wall so we knew we wanted to have it exposed. Because this was a load bearing wall, we had to have a new beam with some supports.


Mike and I did all the wainscoting ourselves. Our carpenter added the crown molding. We refinished the hardwoods and stained them a darker color. Wall color is SW Sea Salt.


We added french doors to open into our tiny office.


We wanted a totally open floor plan so we chopped off the bar from the original kitchen and added an island. Island was purchased from IKEA.


I installed the backsplash myself! Granite is Blanco Gabrielle and I loved it. A great mix and warm and cool tones so really versatile.


We added recessed lights throughout. We painted our existing cabinets SW Agreeable Gray.


New appliances of course. We had a tv mounted over the fridge where cabinet doors used to be. Since we never use the cabinets over the fridge we used a scrap section of wall we had cut out from somewhere else to close the cabinets off. We added a door on the side to still have some storage and added outlets inside the cabinet to make everything appear wireless.


This is the one room where we kept the natural wood. It gets a ton of natural light and I loved the traditional feel it gave the house. That pendant light on the left was over a small table where you could eat and gaze at Queen Anne’s Creek.


Standing in the kitchen looking toward the front of the house into the living room.


Unfortunately there were not hardwoods throughout the whole house, so we had to do something different behind the fireplace. We used one of the many new types of laminate flooring that look a lot more expensive than they are. Will I do laminate again? Probably not for my main living area. While it holds up incredibly well to dogs, I would still rather have real wood.

So that’s the main living area. I kind of miss it! Especially my kitchen. New kitchens are just the best. Next post I’ll share the rest of the house!


I’ve never known the weekends to fly by as fast as they are doing so as of late. Sunday nights I lie in bed and open the ‘work folder’ in my brain. Ugh. Le sigh. Blegh. And Monday mornings I blog to put off said work.

We had a quintessential spring weekend at home. Yard work, cooking, cleaning, sudafed, and other miscellaneous chores.

Our laundry room was one of those rooms we didn’t touch during the big reno. It has been like a mosquito in my brain, so I decided to start the project this weekend. The prior owner of this matchbox must have really loved green. It was like 50 shades of seasick in this place. The outside is a pale puke green. The exterior doors are a tired hunter green. The laundry room is literally three shades of green; a shade on the walls, another shade for the trim, and yet another for the floor. It is ridic. I have started with the trim and even getting one coat of white has made such a big difference. No longer does it make me want to reach for my dramamine. Now if Sloan would just let me work for more than 15 minutes at a time I might be able to finish it this year.

Speaking of Sloan. She is 7 months old now! So insane. She is rolling over like a circus act. Sitting up really good. Loves to squeal, especially at the end of the day when she is getting crazy from no sleep. Yes, she still hates napping. She is still sleeping great at night so I’ll take the good with the bad. She has liked most foods she’s tried and insists on trying to feed herself which gets interesting.

IMG_7199It’s a mutual kind of love with these two…

Coming soon to the blog, I’m finally going to share some before and afters of Project Matchbox aka our house.

Friday Randoms

Random posts are always my favorite.

– So, we half-assed moved. As in, there is still a lot of little crap left in the warehouse. Our carpet installers have just completely dropped the ball and are holding us up big time. But whatev. At this point, I don’t have much care left in me. I have just been relaxing and watching a lot of tv and doing a lot of online browsing. After not having tv or internet since Nov 1…we have earned some time on the couch.

– Speaking of couch…we got ours back from the upholsterer. I like it. I can’t say I wouldn’t have preferred velvet, but velvet + dog slobber just wasn’t in any way practical.


– Madewell is offering 30% off sale items {code: BYEMARCH} and I scooped up two more of my absolute favorite tees. I ordered a size up so hopefully they will accommodate the growing belly throughout the summer.

– I have been cooking up a storm this week. If you follow on instagram then you have seen a couple of my go-to recipes, Baked Egg Rolls & Italian Frittata. Mike’s uncle lives in the midwest and he and his wife own and run a restaurant. He visited once and brought with him their egg rolls and served them with big leaves of lettuce and assorted herbs {any herbs you want, I usually use cilantro and/or basil}. You sprinkle some herbs on a leaf of lettuce and wrap around the egg roll. It was amazing and I try to always eat my own egg rolls this way. Since my egg rolls are baked and just shy of bland, I always like to have a tasty dipping sauce. I love Newman’s Own sesame ginger dressing, which I recently mixed with a sweet thai chili sauce and added a healthy squirt of sriracha. Basically I just make it to taste. Nothing fancy or measured. Egg rolls are one of those things that you can use what you have in the fridge. I have added chicken, shrimp, and fish and it is all good.

I don’t really have a recipe for the frittata…there are hundreds of variations so I suggest just looking it up online to find one you like. Once you make it once, you won’t need a recipe! You can also eat it hot, cold, or room temp for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Plus it is packed with protein and veggies (and in my case, cheeese too).  This is what I added to mine (I only used half the italian sausage + shredded sharp cheddar and sprinkled some feta on top):


– We have zero window treatments. How am I supposed to decide on and afford window treatments for every window in our house like right now? I mean, people are staring at our every move at night because there is zero privacy. I also hate to waste money on temporary options because unless they are from Dollar General nothing in the drapery world is cheap. I want to try my hand at making my own. It can’t be too hard right? More than the cost savings, I don’t want to wait for someone to do it for me. The lady that did our sofa and chair took forever, and while she was good and very reasonable, I want something now. I cannot get this fabric out of my mind, and it is not too expensive, so I may give it a try. The colors are perfection and it is just fun and formal at the same time. Plus it has dogs and ginger jars…a win win.

That is all for this Friday. We will be busy moving the rest of our junk out the warehouse this weekend. Fun fun!

Lessons Learned, Part I

Call this a retrospective of sorts. As the renovations finally come to a close and we plan to finally move in this weekend, I have been processing the process. It has been a long one (7 months!) with many peaks and valleys, but I feel pretty confident that such is how renovating a house goes for everyone. I have never heard “oh we did that once, it was so cheap and a total breeze, stress free, fun, a joyous bonding of husband and wife…” Regardless, it was a learning experience. I thought I would share some of my lessons learned with my few wonderful readers. I started this as one big post, but it got looooong, so I split it into two parts.

1. Communicate with your sub-contractors. And then communicate some more, label everything you buy in detail, write down exactly what you want and then read it to them, demanding full comprehension. Never assume your outlet will be put in the obvious place, because obvious to you is not the same obvious to the electrician. Since we could not be there all the time to meet everyone, to walk everyone through every job, it was inevitable shit would get screwed up. And indeed it did. Nothing major, but things that could have been avoided if we had communicated better. I was especially horrible at this. I suppose this is why people hire contractors, but that just wasn’t for us. Lesson learned.

2. Shop smart. You can spend as much or as little as you want when re-doing any part of a house. Don’t get the “average cost” too stuck in your head, because it has never been true for us. So let’s talk about fixtures. Light fixtures, bathroom fixtures/faucets/whatever you want to call them…they are not cheap. You feel defeated because everything at Lowes and Home Depot is not even close to all those images you pinned from Veranda or House Beautiful or Domino. You unfortunately have one of those pesky things called a budget which don’t seem to exist for our friends on instagram. Those pins and that budget rarely work in harmony. First, identify what you want, be specific or just a general style. Do some research and more often than not, you will start to see that one or two brands typically carry styles more in line with yours. Then start searching those brands on ebay, Amazon, etc. I found almost every light I bought cheaper+free shipping by searching for it on those sites. Like I saved hundreds of dollars. Read all the return policies very carefully. I bought my faucets using this same search method. For those things that you are able to save on, you can afford to allow for a must have. Which leads me to my next point…

3. Know what you have to have. Be realistic of course, but put your foot down on those things that you just cannot budge on. If that means a major compromise somewhere else…such is life and marriage. For me, I really wanted the granite we went with. It was in the top tier of granite pricing, and Mike definitely wanted to buy what was on sale {which was gross}, but eventually we compromised on other things and my granite I got and it is the highlight of the kitchen fa sho. Mike is a lighting nazi. Everything on dimmers and recessed lights everywhere. Okay I say.

That’ll do it for now. I’m hoping to post Part II maybe mid-week. I would love to hear your experiences and advice as well! Do tell.

A guest room, revisited.

The guest room is always “my room”. As in, I can decorate it however I want without any major husband input. It is, therefore, the most fun room to decorate. I knew immediately how I wanted our guest room to look: all white, kelly green doors, white bedding, white headboard, some bright pillows, and our collection of New Orleans art we’ve collected from our trips.

A very quick little inspiration board:

guest room

There are two closets and imagine the closet doors and door casings painted kelly green. Imagine more art and framed photographs to bring in the color. Imagine black and white ticking stripe fabric cornices and bamboo shades on the two windows. Imagine an old wooden dresser…hopefully you are getting an idea of my idea.

Ok. All set. Nothing too expensive or hard to accomplish. Amazing finished product. Here is where life happens and now amazing said guest room is requiring some additional thought. There is just no way a bed AND a crib will fit in the same room. And what guest wants to sleep in the same room with a baby? Since my brain could only handle so much at one time, I decided to keep with the white walls (specifically Sherwin Williams Westhighland White) and green closets (SW Grasshopper). The rest is TBD. Stay tuned!


As you learned in my previous post, it is hard to stay connected in this world without internet and good cell service. I am once again lounging at my empty in-laws house. They are away for the week and I would like to say we are house sitting as opposed to squatting. Either way we are making ourselves at home, and I am so thankful they do not mind. Our biggest challenge being keeping Rolo from destroying something. Last time, he ate their Direct TV remote. Whoops!

House update: The painters have come and gone except for a few remaining touch ups. I was so excited only to be disappointed by their quality of work. And supposedly one of them got bit by a brown recluse spider while at our house. Geez loueez. Our final electrical inspection is today, and hopefully that means we will have power back on tomorrow. Our countertops are being installed on Thursday. Things are happening! Every single light fixture is finally purchased, all the paint colors have been picked out, my sofa & chair are being dropped off at the upholsterer this week…it feels good. Next up: choosing new hardware for the kitchen cabinets, finally deciding on new floors, getting our gas lines hooked up, more painting.

Product update: I’m still using Cetaphil moisturizer from head to toe and my skin has never been better. Recently, I switched to a new oil facial cleanser and absolutely love it.

Garnier Nourishing Cleansing Oil

I wasn’t really looking for a new face wash as I was happy with Cetaphil, but saw this and decided to give it a try. It takes off ALL eye makeup in an instant and leaves my face feeling hydrated and clean. And it smells good, and after using so much bland no scent Cetaphil, it is a nice change.

Add to Cart update: With all the house expenditures, I have reeled in my shopping like never before. However, I have made two rather large purchases recently.

Rachel Pally ‘Jazz’ Maxi

I bought this for a friend’s January wedding. I loathe being cold, so I started searching for long sleeve dresses and ended up finding this gem. It is so fantastic and I got a ton of compliments. Right now it is on major sale via Amazon. You can expect the same comfort level as with any Rachel Pally number and it is plenty long for you tall girls.

Rag & Bone ‘Harrow’ Camel booties

These booties are in no way new as I have been longing for them for a couple years now. Unfortunately they rarely go on sale and spending $500+ on them was just not in my budget. When visiting my bff in Atlanta, I decided to try them on and they were so comfortable and definitely the most flattering bootie this short, stout legged lady is ever going to find. But again, not on sale. So I have stalked them on eBay and the web in general, basically just giving it up because I really only wanted them in camel. Until one day last week I see some chick on Instagram had just bought them and decided to check out the company she bought them from {Emporium DNA}…long story made long is that they were 50% off and had my size. SOLD. They still have a few sizes left on the website {36, 37, 37.5 — FYI these run almost a full size small}.

I think that is enough for now…have you scored any good end of season deals? Do tell.

Agree to Disagree

Husbands and decor decisions. How does that work for you? Because for me…it is the most frustrating of all things. My  husband is all about FUNCTION. I know function is important, and since we have basically gutted our home, we can tailor almost everything to our wants and needs. However, that comes with its own set of challenges. I’ve never lived in this house before, so it is hard to for me to feel the space to know what it needs. But decisions have to be made.

Our main challenge is limited square footage. We are talking 1300 sq ft of living space. This house was so closed up that we have busted out walls and taken down cabinets left and right. While it has opened it up enormously, we have eliminated a lot of the available storage. With small square footage, it is important for us to utilize vertical space. To my husband, this means NO SIDE TABLES, COFFEE TABLE, LAMPS. WTF dude? How am I supposed to make this house amazing without lots of tables, vignettes, and lamps? I told him to go live in minimalist Russia.


Before: Chimney wall flanked by a closet and a bookshelf/cabinet.

Photo1(5)After: Different viewpoint, but you can see everything was dark and dreary and now…All gone.

Next challenge is we cannot agree on light fixtures. At all. I don’t know why but we have a polar opposite view of a great light fixture. He is against drum shades, chandeliers, and industrial influenced lights AKA everything that is cool looking. We have come to a few compromises with this, but I don’t think either of us are really happy with it.

It isn’t all bad though. We actually agree on a lot of the overall feel. He just doesn’t like a lot of stuff on the floor. And I get it…but…get over it. He has said nothing about my bathroom design, so that means he must like it. He hates dark bedrooms, but knows it is happening. He has even not totally shut down my extreme love of this leopard print carpet for the guest room. Win! I have agreed to not paint a small area of the heart pine walls. We are referring to this as our “sailboat room” because it reminds me of the inside of an old boat.

So preetttyy.

So how do y’all balance your finely tuned amazing taste with your other half? I don’t feel like I’m asking for pink walls with tons of tribal prints, so he should be thankful for that…




House plans

My lack of blogging has been extreme. Thank goodness for Instagram!

So. House renovating is hella stressful. The quirks and complications with taking an old house and trying to make it awesome come with a lot of dream crushing. Like I can’t have an awesome light fixture there because there is no attic access because the area did not formerly exist. Or, we cannot run electrical wire down this wall because it used to be an external wall, and there is all kinds of stuff in the way {or something like that}. Or ‘hey, why is the ceiling wet?’ Or ‘hey, I don’t think this is going to pass inspection.’ Or ‘HOW MUCH?’

Anyway, a few surprises here and there, but eventually I do think it will be awesome. I decided to share with y’all my vision for a couple of rooms.

House Reno Bath KitchenGuest Bath: Black & white hex tile floor with black hex border  | White subway tile shower surround | Wall mount sink | Chrome fixtures

Kitchen: Grayish cabinets | Granite countertops pictured | White herringbone backsplash | White island with wood top

Shattered Dreams: Pendant lights over island – not electrically possible for some reason | White marble countertops – not budget appropriate or practical…but oh so beautiful | Probably not farmhouse sink – Only the Ikea version is in our budget and is too deep for our existing cabinets | Console sink for bathroom – STUPID expensive

Thoughts: My dad is a tiling wizard and he is going to help me do all the bathroom tiling and backsplash, so we will be saving some loot in that department plus I will be learning a trade. My husband wants super fancy carpet in our bedrooms which makes me laugh…and happy. Half of the house has existing wood floors which we plan to refinish, the other half will need new wood floors. Have you shopped for wood floors lately? There are so many crazy options for prefinished wood, engineered wood, and laminate. Exciting but overwhelming. Why is choosing and agreeing on light fixtures so hard?

An update.

Lots of things happening over here. The biggest is our house reno. What a TASK. The house is basically going to be new when we are done. New and fucking awesome I might add. The husband and I are mostly agreeing on most things, which is all that I can ask for. The bad part is the time and money. Time is ticking by at an alarming rate, and I don’t want to pay rent + a mortgage again. Which means we have 4 weeks. 4 weeks to get a new kitchen, bathroom, floors, electrical, plumbing, paint and trim. NBD. Since all I have right now are before pictures, I am just going to wait until we have afters to share anything on the blog. You can follow our progress on instagram (@summersantana).

With the crazy investment of renovating a house, that means no fall clothes for me. So boring. The only thing I have bought recently is this Ily Couture sweatshirt. I wore out the ‘Oh My Chic’ version from last year, so I knew this would be a necessity.

I’m getting my hair done today! Only two weeks overdue. Root city over here. Speaking of hair, I love this shampoo/conditioner and best of all, it is cheap. Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion

Our five year wedding anniversary is Friday. The husband will be at the DU Banquet to celebrate. So sweet.

I can’t remember all of the other things I was going to post about now that I finally sat down at the computer. What is going on with y’all?

Old Glory

This post couldn’t be more pertinent on a day where we all take time to think about our pride and our freedoms in this great country. I have been thinking a lot lately of making the NC flag a piece of art, whether it be actual art that is painted on a some type of material, or a real flag. Then I was perusing House Beautiful and was reminded that no one has done this better than Ralph Lauren. Ralph does American comfort like no other. Lived in, inviting, and perfectly collected.

Other inspiration using the American flag:

Our new house is in a very historical, coastal town and I am loving the idea of walking by our state flag every day. I’m thinking of painting it on the old wood we are tearing out of the house…kind of like this look {or I guess I could just buy this poster and frame it…hmmm}.

Think BIG with dark wood floors, white-ish walls…NC for life.