The Pictures on the Wall

In the old house, it took us until the very last month we lived in it, so about 18 months into living in the home, for us to finally hang up some pictures. We did this with the idea of staging in our minds, not for sentimental reasons. In general, all of our photos were sitting on the floor in the places they were to be hung, at some point, once we’d finished other projects in the room, but obviously we sold the house and never got around to finishing all the projects stored away in our brains. It’s sort of depressing that we had all of our art just sitting on bookshelves, are leaned up against the wall waiting to be hung. Le sigh.

So in this house, I made a very firm resolution to not wait 18 months to hang our family pictures and art. THIS time, I was going to hang up those pictures as soon as we got in the house!

Three months later, I’ve finally done it! This is very unfinished, but it’s a start and I’m always amazed at how art can make a home look instantly lived-in.

I decided to focus my attention on an area that will probably remain relatively unchanged while we live here. Since the main floor will be rearranged once the basement is done, my options were limited.

KaBlam! Blank canvas:

Hanging Art on a blank wall

I couldn’t really get a good picture of the space (although now that I think about it, I probably could have stood on the kitchen island and gotten a better shot… perspective…) but basically we have this giant wall leading down to the basement and it was just calling my name. It was saying, “Jen. JEN! Gallery wall. It’ll be sooo good!”

Well, what the wall wants, the wall gets. She’s a feisty, persuasive type of wall.

I didn’t really have a plan. I just grabbed a bunch of pictures, laid them out on the ground in a formation I thought was compatible with the angle of the stairs and then thought, “Whelp, here goes nothing.”


One thing I did find helpful was this little sheet of paper that came with a frame I purchased for one of the photos. I actually used it for a couple of the frames because many of them are just 8×10 frames in various styles. If the picture had a different setup for hanging, I drew it in by hand on the sheet and used it as an alternative template. Then, I hammered the nail in where the template said it needed to go and voilà! Success!



I didn’t have to buy anything for this wall. It was all stuff that we already had sitting around that just needed to be hung. I printed out the vintage camera solely because I had an even number of hanging pictures up until that point… and I have a thing for odd numbers. Seriously.

The Paris painting I bought from a street vendor when I was in Paris when I studied abroad in college. The house picture I bought on Etsy three years ago. It was originally a gift for my mom, but I liked it so much I bought one for us too.


And these beautiful people are one-of-kind. Obviously.

I’m not sure why we look so washed out in the upper family picture.

Pssst- If you’re looking for a family photographer in Minnesota, make sure you check out La Caturra Photography. She’s a friend of mine from high school and she does a great job!



You can also see the second painting from the Parisian street vendor (below the picture of the three kiddos) and then, finally, a giant painting I bought at a thrift store for $7 about a week before I hung this wall. I really like most of the painting, I don’t love all of the painting (was the fence actually necessary? No, I don’t think it was). However, for now, it looks really nice amidst the rest and it’s a great size.


Here’s what it looks like from my kitchen island. I fully intend on switching these in and out as we grow in this house. Considering I hung up a grand total of about 10 pictures in the last house, and there are nine in this compilation alone, I’d say I’m well on my way to breaking my previous record!

What all have you been up to? I read somewhere that the gallery wall is on its way “out”. Thoughts? Do you neglect to hang up pictures until the very last moment? Or is it the first thing you do when you move in somewhere?




Checking Off the List

I swear, I’ll never find time to blog again. The fact that I’m getting an opportunity now is slightly ridiculous. It’s all happy chaos though, so I wouldn’t change anything!


We had a baby!


Patrick David was born on 3/13 at 3:13 pm (seriously) weighing just shy of 9 pounds.

As far as the name goes, I left it up to Tim for the most part to pick his name. Of course, I threw out a couple of helpful suggestions along the way and in the end we both loved Patrick, it just happened to be that St. Patrick’s day was only a few days after he was born. David is after my father, who passed away when I was 15. It was a very special moment for me when we decided to include my father’s name and we think it’s pretty perfect for him.

So far, Patrick is doing great. He’s a champion sleeper, eater and pooper and his sisters love him. We’ve had a couple of temper tantrums from the girls since being home, but there’s a lot going on right now, so we kind of expected it. Otherwise, it’s been a really smooth transition and everyone is adjusting well.

I’ll have more on the birth story later.


Our house went on the market last Thursday, we had 43 (!!) showings from Thursday to Monday and by the evening on Monday, we had offers on the house! So, as of Tuesday morning, our house is sold!

Our realtor was amazing, we had a lots of help from family getting the house prepped and ready to go and when you take a look at the “before” pictures, we can’t believe what’s been done to the house in only a year and half.


Front Yard


Brighton 1

In the front we ripped out the dead hedges, sloped the yard down towards the sidewalk and laid sod down. It was nice and green in the summer/fall, but now that it’s winter (although arguably very warm for Minnesota in March) the grass is looking kind of lame. I’m sure it’ll be lovely when spring gets into full swing.

Living Room / Entry / Dining Room:

Living Room


NMS_1890Brighton 3 
Brighton 4
Brighton 2

Of course we ripped up the carpet immediately. We pulled paneling down, sanded and re-finished the hardwoods, tore out the old bar and installed a bench in the entryway. We painted, added trim and all those little projects that happened in between. The wallpaper in the dining room is original. It’s the only wallpaper that stayed in the house. I still could never figure out how to position furniture in the living room/front porch area because of the dividing beam but now that’s someone else’s issue to scratch their head about. 

Office / Stairway:


Brighton 9

The real champion of this picture is the staircase. The first photo was taken after we ripped the carpet up, but you can still see remnants of it on the stairs and you get a good look at the old banister.

The funny thing about the banister is that when Tim put the new post in at the bottom, it fit perfectly into the spot where the original post had sat, before the previous home-owners remodeled in the 70s. Maybe it’s kind of like how everyone’s about white trim right now, but the nay-sayers (is that how you spell that?) are all, “Wait ten years and you’ll be sorry you painted your wood trim white”. Maybe, nay-sayers (neigh-sayers?). Maybe.

Girls’ / Extra Bedroom:


Brighton 12

Unfortunately this isn’t even kind of an accurate picture. Normally there would be bunk beds and lots and lots of toys. But you can still see the wallpaper is down, the floors are re-finished and it’s pretty adorable now.


Brighton 13

Again, not accurate. This room was first an office, then was being set up for the baby’s room. When we miscarried it turned into a storage space and then when we found out we were expecting again, it was back to being prepped for a baby. THEN we had to hastily take everything out and turn it into a usable bedroom for showings. Thus, for the last two weeks, Sophie and Charlotte have been sleeping in separate rooms. They’ll be sharing again in the new house so I hope they’re not getting used to it.



Brighton 10



Brighton 11

The bathroom was the last thing we worked on, right before we listed the house. Everything was in working order, but not everyone appreciates a yellow toilet and vanity so we decided to update a bit. We replaced the toilet and vanity top. We also swapped out the hardware and light fixture. We painted the base of the vanity so it tied into the nice crisp new toilet and then painted the whole room a warm cream color to refresh the walls. Not too shabby and it wasn’t too expensive either.

Eat-In-Kitchen :

Kitchen 1

Kitchen 2

Brighton 8
The kitchen was the definition of “making it work”. The only thing we did in the kitchen was take down the wallpaper and add a bench and table to the little nook off to the right of the kitchen. Nothing else changed. But the kitchen had GREAT space for a city kitchen and I had so many plans for it. All the plans!


We’re less than two weeks away now from our move-out date. I’m getting a little misty eyed thinking about it, but we’re very excited to move, and get settled in the new home. We’ve had our baby, we’ve sold the house and now, it’s time to wrap things up and get ready for more big changes.

So, for now, we say goodbye to our little house. Our little piece of paradise in the city. The first house we bought together, the first house we owned. This is where Charlotte learned to ride her bike. This is where Sophie started to learn to read. This is Patrick’s first home, even if it’s only for two weeks. We are sad to leave, we will miss our neighbors, our friends, the parks, the restaurants, being close to our families and our beautiful city. We’re excited for what lies in store, but for now, we’re just soaking in the last few days here and hoping for sanity as we move our family of five to South Dakota.



Christmas Year by Year

Merry Christmas Eve and Happy Holidays to you all! Here at the Bean House we’re preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and anticipating Santa’s big trip around the world! It’s a very exciting day!

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is creating a yearly craft that helps keep track of the growth of our girls from year to year. We keep a version of these crafts for us at home, and then the girls give these handmade items to their grandparents and godparents each year. It’s a way for them to be a part of the gift-giving and they are always so proud when they give the items they worked on away to family. All in all, we end up making about six or eight total each year. It started in 2011, the year Charlotte was born, and we’ve continued to add to our collection of handmade memorabilia each year and I love it! Unpacking them from storage is always so fun, and we normally spend a couple minutes each Christmas talking with the kiddos about where each craft came from, how old they were, and how we made it.

In 2011 I tried to make ornaments with the girls. We filled some plain plastic ornaments (bought from a craft store) with glitter, attempted to get a clear hand print of the girls’ using paint (key word: attempted) and wrote the year and the girls’ names on the ornament.


I got the idea from Pinterest, and let’s just be honest… the pins on Pinterest are always way better executed than the ones we end up with. Even so, these ornaments are very precious to us and the girls love hanging their hand print ornaments on the tree each year!

In 2012 we used the girls’ feet to make a little reindeer print. I especially love this one for some reason. Look at those little bitty toe prints!


Again, grandparents and godparents got a print of this. I remember this one being particularly messy, and we had a couple of “oops” prints by the time we were done… totally worth it.

The next year we were back to handprints, but I quickly realized that my girls were getting big as their hands barely fit onto the wood cut-outs I used (again, bought from a craft store). I want to do some handprint crafts with the new bambino when he’s born so it’ll be interesting to see if I start from the beginning with him (do the ornament for 2015, then a footprint for 2016 etc.) or if I just incorporate him into whatever we happen to be doing with the girls each year. To be continued.


Originally I think my plan was to attach these to ribbon so they could hang on the wall… but I got lazy and now they just end up leaning against things. Maybe someday I’ll get all motivated and hang them up, but maybe, and most likely, not.

This year, I used the amazing pictures we got from La Cattura Photography to create a little memento for 2014. The girls took turns using their finger prints to make lights surrounding a picture of the two of them.


I can’ believe how big they are! This one might be my favorite yet because it’s so simple and it’s actually a picture of the two of them. Next year there will be three kiddos!

Do you all doing anything with your kids each year to help remember that Christmas? How about you and your special someone? Tim wants to start having the kids pick out an ornament each year so we can watch how their interests change year to year but it might be fun for he and I to also pick out an ornament for our family. New tradition in the making!


You guys, this picture popped up on Pinterest and I had to explore. And sure enough, it was legit. This is actually something that is happening.


Overalls. Overalls that you can purchase for a measly $330.00 (!).

And I’m all, is overalls happening right now??

This is the same feeling I had when I found bling studded fanny packs at Target.

I admittedly have looked at overalls for the girls (because little kids can pull off clothing like a boss) but would never, not in a million years, wear them myself for fear of my butt looking like it’s own planet in them. I do recall wearing them in elementary school and feeling like I had it made. However, this size 00 model is making them look pretty darn comfy-chic.

So what are your thoughts? Are overalls okay? Remember how we all made fun of mom-jeans and then this past summer everyone wore mom-jean shorts with sports bras and called it chic? Yeah, that definitely happened.

The Post in Which I Try to Paint Something Fancy, and Drool Over Artwork

I’ve hit a bit of a writer’s block.

It’s not that I have nothing to blog about. We’ve been really busy at home, we’ve finished the banister, painted a chalkboard wall, installed a dishwasher, new faucet in the kitchen, begun construction on the entry bench and intend to start finishing the baseboards on the first floor. But for some reason, I’m just unable to put our current projects into words.

So here’s a post about nothing in particular, just a current musing of mine.

As a New Year’s resolution I’ve decided to amp-up my “Culture Factor” and become an art connoisseur. And by that I mean I’ve decided that I live in a big girl house, it’s probably time I got some big girl art to go with it. Posters bought at college fairs can only take you so far. And by that I mean, I’m just looking for an excuse to spend money on artwork. Can I #firstworldproblems?


So here’s the deal about the artwork we have at home right now. The majority of the pictures we hang up are photographs of our family. Our wedding day. Yearly family portraits.  You know how we do. And I love it. I love having the house filled with so many personal moments. But I would like to amp up our collection of art by exploring the world of paintings, and graphic prints. I’ve even begun to dabble a bit in painting at home on an easel Tim bought me last year for Christmas (maybe my birthday?) .

I’ve also been searching online, looking for artists that are inspiring, paintings that speak to me, and collections that look good together.

Here’s a Monday round-up of some of the artists that I’ve fallen in love with.

Albie Designs

These awesome prints from Albie Designs are on my fav list because they’re of the cities Tim and I have lived in for the majority of our adult lives. We love our Twin Cities. Both of us grew up in the suburbs surround the twin cities, but have settled in Minneapolis, actively deciding to live within the city limits, and we love it. I would love to buy this set and have them displayed in our living room, possibly with a display of the keys to the houses/apartments we’ve lived in together.

Kate Marshall

I’ll be the first to say that I have done my share of making fun of the wave of art that I liked to call “paintings of absolutely nothing”, but have recently developed an appreciation for their understated complexities. I love this grouping by the very talented Kate Marshall. I love the colors, I love the textures and I’d snap them up in a heartbeat if they were within my available budget.

Kai Davis

When I found Kai Samuels-Davis’ shop on Etsy I was like, “I want all the things! I want all the things!”. Then, when the Emily Henderson used them in her design for the Fig House, I was like, “I. WANT. ALL. THE. THINGS!” I still haven’t convinced Tim it’s a good idea, but I will. I will.


I think these are beautiful, enchanting, lovely etc. etc. Even the girls love them. They helped me pick out the set for the photo. Can’t go wrong when artwork is even inspiring to the toddlers in the house, right?

So there you have it. Some lovely artwork that has my head buzzing. I hope this post about nothing in particular has inspired you in some way on this Monday afternoon.

What artists do you find inspirational? Do you find artwork to be a must-have in the home or do you just have buckets of family photos like us? Do you paint, sculpt, sketch etc?





Remodelers Showcase… and some awesome shopping

Last weekend was the Remodelers Showcase edition of the Parade of Homes. A friend of mine and I went a-hunting for some great ideas for our houses (closing is coming up!). Since we both own houses in Minneapolis, we wanted to see what others had done with the challenges (and blessings) of owning an older home.

We were not disappointed! It’s wonderful to be able to pin things on Pinterest and tab inspiration photos is some of my design books, but actually seeing things in person really lights a fire. It’s all “Ooo I could this” and “Wow, our rooms are set up just like this, I bet we could something like this!” Also, can we just talk about how every time I see a claw-foot tub in a bathroom I just want to break out the bubbles and relax in it for hours? Guilty.


Love me some cubbies! I also love me some green trench coat… but stealing is illegal so I’ll have to go get my own. Priorities. Also, since we need to completely redo the railings and stairs, I loved the way the made the rungs for the banister white while matching the handrail with the wood from the stairs. I am also thinking we might need to have a fabric runner for our stairs after they’ve been stripped of there lovely orangey shagginess, but we will see.

BUT the real fun part of the weekend was going through Hunt & Gather in Minneapolis. For those of you who love a little antique shopping. You’ll love this place. The prices aren’t particularly cheap, but the stuff they have is really awesome. I even walked away with a couple of things… but more on that later.

Let the yummy details follow!


First of all, the sheer amount of various lettering is out-of-control. They have wood letters. Paper letters. Plastic letters. Vinyl letters in a wide array of color. Chunky light-up letters. I mean seriously, the list goes on and on and on. I found one giant orange “O” that needed to come home with us… but at almost $40, I left it because we have nowhere to store it at the moment. Until next time “O”… until next time.

afterlight (1)

I may or may not have laughed out loud when I saw this table of (mainly presidents but there might have been a Caesar or two) busts. Mama needs some white ceramic busts for bookshelves. Maybe I need to start thrift shopping for impressive historical biographies to accompany them. Anybody have any suggestions? Speaking of bookshelves…


So much awesomeness- so little time. They even had a super ancient Bible, complete with fantastic chunky gold clasp and large imprinted gold cross. You know, the kind you see on TV sets being used as a prop. Again, pricey, bust no less awesome.

Then there was this:

afterlight (2)

And my bunny slippers ran for cover.

This might be someones idea of decorative genius… but I just kind of wanted to cry. Maybe if you gave it a cute little nickname like “Goober” or something.

I also found this and let out an audible “Awwww”:

afterlight (3)

Did anyone else have this movie as a kid??? I L.O.V.E.D. it! I’m still sort of sorry it didn’t come home with me.

So that was how I spent my Saturday afternoon last week. Has anyone else been to Hunt & Gather? Do you have any go-to places for awesome antiques or thrift items? Anybody else feel like that fish probably was the bully on the playground?



Can’t Stop It, Won’t Stop It

Okay, so remember how I said I was going to be all cool and collected until we signed for the house on closing day?


Though I’m definitely a girl who’s all about the don’t-get-too-excited-until-it’s-actually-happening thing… I’ve been a total Pinsperation fiend ever since we got our offer acceptance notice on the house. I’ve pinned things that aren’t even the least bit possible simply because… well… there are no vaulted ceilings anywhere in the house (though the attic is begging to be finished) and our yard is too teeny tiny to have an entire outside area devoted to a brick oven with twinkle lights and luscious drapery. BUT that is not the point, right? I’ve practically been living over at Design Sponge scouring through all kinds of house tours and Apartment Therapy and me are like white on rice right now. No joke. Also, can I just talk about how Emily Henderson comes up with the most amazing, random and inspiring collection of rooms? I have no idea how she puts the things together she does and makes it look like it was all meant to be there from the beginning. If I tried it, it would probably look like a junkyard pile-up.

So let’s just be honest and say, if something goes terribly wrong and we don’t end up in this house… it might take me a week or more to get over it. It might also require a little bit of vino and a whole lot of carbs. I’m just throwing that out into cyber space and hoping someone out there is like, “Preach it!”

Anywho… because it’s Tuesday and I want to… I decided to share with you the inner workings of my brain as I plan out what we’ll be doing in the girls’ room (you know, after we remove the wallpaper, re-sand and stain the hardwoods and a medley of other projects that are a must first).

The room itself is on the smaller side, so much of what’s in there will need to serve multiple functions. Storage will be a trickster I’m hoping we can catch. May the force be with us and the odds in our favor. (November 22nd!!!)

For paint color? I’m thinking…. white.

Whomp. Whomp.

But here’s why… because I fully intend on getting wrist deep in paint doing this:

Herringbone Shuffle Modern Geometric Wall Stencil | Royal Design Studio

At 34 bucks for the stencil, it’s definitely not a cheap purchase. But I think this as an accent wall will make the room fun and playful while still allowing us to keep it subdued with the other three walls (actually their room technically has about eight walls but that’s fo another discussion entirely) being a simple white. Will we actually do this? Who knows? But this is what my brain is obsessing over as of now. That and these. One thing at a time Jen, one thing at a time.

shared kids room

This is where I got the white walls inspiration. Actually several of the rooms I’ve pinned have all had white (or some solid color) walls with an accent. But this one has the white bunk beds (that we already own) and gave me some awesome hints on storage ideas (enclosed wicker baskets under the bed???).

Sophie picked this guy out on her own actually… I pinned it to remember it:

Flamingo photography I Etsy

I love love love the colors. And Sophie loves loves L.O.V.E.S. the flamingo. Not sure what her obsession is with the flamingo (she says it’s because “it’s so squiggly cute!) but from the day she saw a flamingo at the Minnesota Zoo, she’s been hooked. Why have we not bought her a flamingo stuffed animal? Do they make those??

I loved this print and it just happens to be in a similar color scheme:

in the sky

Also, I just love printspace. It’s adorable, charming and I want it all. I love this print in particular because it’s wonderfully girly without being pinky, sparkly and lacey. It’s simplistic and whimsical and perfect for a room with two giggly little girls living it.

I might have to make each of them one of these as well:


Because no child’s room is complete without a bigger-than-your-face cloud pillow! Am I right?

I love the idea of switching out the lighting (gosh darn boob lights) and doing some really simplistic. Also, I’ve kind of got a think for natural wood right now so, of course, I was all take-me-to-your-leader with this guy from West Elm:

Turning Pendant, Wood


At $149, I’m not sure we’ll actually be putting this in the girls’ room. But in a perfect world I’d have already ordered it and be patiently awaiting it’s arrival. Maybe we can make our own? Maybe we can do something completely different (read: better)? Does anyone else go into West Elm and say, “Yes please, I’ll take one in everything”?

Now that I’ve gotten THAT off my chest… I’m going to start planning the kitchen get back to work.

Are any of you planning on repainting a room or tackling some stubborn wallpaper? Have you ever used a stencil before? Horror stories? I hear it can really help with your bicep/triceps muscles (read: makes you so sore you can’t lift your coffee cup in the morning).