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?




Deck the House

… with lots of deck space. Falalalalaaalalalalaa.

See what I did there?

Anyway, you probably figured out what’s happened at our house…


Concrete stairs!

Not what you were thinking? Okay, well this is definitely not where this post is focused but we did get our stairs finally finished and they also added a sidewalk out front. All of this progress has been both cool and frustrating. It’s cool because we get to see how things come together and the process behind everything. It’s also frustrating because people kind of live on their own timeline here. All of the unfinished pieces were supposed to be done by May 1st. Whelp it’s May 5th and we still have a wonky yard, left-overs from various projects all over the place, the AC is still missing and the list kind of goes on and on. BUT we’re hopeful that everything will be done in the next week. Crossing our fingers!

So let’s talk about the fun new view of the back of the house. Here’s what it looked like before:


And here’s what it looks like now!


Ahhh. A deck!

We negotiated a bigger deck than the standard 10×10 into the purchase of the home and I’m so so so glad we did! Originally we had wanted to do a 10×15, but when we did the measuring etc. we realized we’d have to build a deck over the downstairs office window, blocking all of the light we were getting downstairs. To compromise, the builders built it with the same square footage, but didn’t build over the windows.


Right now we’re planning to build a small seating area at the bottom of the stairs, with raised garden beds along the edge. I’m sure plans will evolve as we go along though so it’ll be fun to see what actually gets done.


Remember the wind? This is where our chairs live right now because otherwise they get blown around on the deck. It’s kind of ridiculous. We also are too afraid to leave the umbrella on the table for fear a gust will blow it away. We’ll have to figure out a solution for that.


See my cute little “greenhouse”? Yeah, it’s awesome. The black pot will house our little deck salad garden. The girls love growing, and picking cherry tomatoes so we’ll plant that plus lettuce all around the edge and voila! A salad garden right on the deck!



It’s also pretty awesome for Barbie dance parties and little girls to have tea and taco parties. We’re not sure if/when we’ll stain the deck but for now, we’re just enjoying the extra play and relax space we have.

And maybe we’ll find a way to use the “leftovers” that got forgotten…


Anybody need a hodge-podge of lumber pieces?

Actually… I probably do… let’s be honest.




Home on the Range

Perhaps my title is a little mellow-dramatic. Deal with it.


We’ve been here now for a little over a month and we’re coming to realize how much this feels like home now. We were back in Minneapolis last weekend for Tim’s Ironman Bike Ride (his 6th year running!)…



…and we kept commenting on how it was great to be back, but we missed “home”. Words I thought would come out of my mouth, oh never. So clearly, this whole none-stop-wind-on-the-prairie house is quickly settling into our hearts and making itself comfortable. There’s still a lot to be done, but the work needed is much different from the kind we were doing in the previous house. Not better or worse, just different. Also, I find it completely charming that the girls call this house the “red house” and in all of there pictures now there’s a little red house somewhere on the page. Be still my melting heart.


Being a new home, there’s a lot of this kind of stuff lying around. The builder has happily come and picked up some of it, but not all of it, and every time they do a new project (ahem… the deck) more stuff gets left behind. Will it ever end? It better because I’ve got big plans for grass on this little plot of dirt. Time to clean up kids, Mama’s gotta try her hand at l-a-n-d-s-c-a-p-i-n-g.

DSC_4112But a new home also comes with a lot of fun little extras that we really appreciate. Say it with me, “A.C.” Huzzah! We haven’t needed it yet (which is good because the unit’s not installed yet) but when we do, I’ll be really happy we have it. People tell me it’s windy here until it gets hot… and then the wind decides it’s bored and goes elsewhere. Okay then, good thing there’s a splash pad up the road.

Also, can we just talk about the view?


This is what it looked like the day we moved in. This is what it looked like two nights ago:


It’s seriously ridiculous that there’s this much space behind our house. Eventually this will be developed into more housing, so this view is not here to stay. But for now we’re soaking it in and enjoying the peace that comes with living outside the city.

I’ve gotten a couple of questions about why we decided to go with a new construction home, since we clearly loved our little old beauty in Minneapolis. Honestly, it’s mostly about re-sale value. We know this is just a temporary move and older houses in this area are much harder to sell than new construction homes. It was also a timing thing, we had about two months to pick a house, sell our previous house, pack and move and the idea of finding a house that needed updating like the last one was just too much, especially since we knew Patrick would be a newborn at the time of the work.


One of the things I did get with this home was the open floor plan I’ve dreamed and dreamed about. I can be cooking in the kitchen, chatting with people sitting at the bar or dining room table, and watching the girls destroy the living room and make spit pictures with their fingers on the T.V. screen. It’s glorious.

DSC_4127Also, the fact that these windows are super energy-efficient is amazing. A-mazing. It’s a good thing too, because the wind (did I mention the wind?) threatens to blow our house down We need good windows to keep us warm. One of our neighbors told us that the wind is pretty brutal in the winter time. So the windows are very much appreciated. I’m also pretty in love with the vaulted ceilings. It’s amazing how large this space feels just because of the ceiling height. The only issue, I want it all painted a different color… so that’ll be an interesting endeavour.


We have three finished bedrooms right now. The girls’ and Patrick’s (right now operating as the guest bedroom) are mirror images of each other. They’re both a really great size and the closets are huge! Huge for us anyway, I think they’re probably standard sized closets, we’re just use to Minneapolis standard sized… aka capsule wardrobes only. I’ll have more pictures of the closets later as we’re putting new closet systems in them to accommodate clothes/toys/general chaos.

photo (4)

And our bedroom is pretty awesome too. The ceiling is what made this room. It’s actually a pretty small master bedroom, but it also includes a walk-in closet (what?!) and a bathroom so it works great for us. Now I can say things like, “the master suite” and sound all snooty like. I told Tim that even though we have two bathrooms now (there’s one by the kids’ rooms) I’m still going to make sure I fight him for one in the morning… you know… for consistency’s sake.

Now, the greatest part about the house, you know, except for all the other great things I’ve talked about, is the basement:

DSC_4121 DSC_4122

So down here there’s room for three more bedrooms, another living area, and a third bathroom. Aaand my head just exploded.

Our plan is to make one room into an office, complete with french doors to let more light into the large living room, one is going to be a play room for the kids, and the third will be the actual guest bedroom with a guest bathroom. I love this basement because it’s not a dark cave, there’s beautiful windows in each room to let a good amount of light in and the idea of being able to finish a basement is exciting. And scary. But mostly exciting! We’ll post pictures once everything’s all framed up so you can see our “vision”, or rather, the builder’s vision and how we’re continuing that with our finishes and last-minute details.

Anyone else taking advantage of beautiful weather this week? Any gardeners out there want to give me some tips on raised garden beds?


30 Days and Counting

You guys are awesome. Thank you for all the encouragement and love you’ve showered on us during our time of transition! We love you all!

So we’ve got a couple of big events running at us full throttle.

#1 Baby boy is due in about two weeks, so we’re patiently (read: extremely UNpatiently… why does the last month of pregnancy always feel like a million years long??) awaiting his arrival into this world. With my babies being notoriously late, I’m hoping this guy shows his sisters how it’s done and comes sooner rather than later. Come on, baby! Mom and Dad want to meet you!


#2 Our house is going up on the market in about one week, so we’re painting, purging, cleaning, and trying to simultaneously enjoy the last couple of weeks we’re spending in this amazing house. We’re sad to be leaving it. We never thought we’d only live in this house for a short one and a half years. It feels so bittersweet to be putting it up on the market, but we feel incredibly blessed by this new adventure so we’re taking it in stride.


#3 We are going to be moving to SD in one month. One. Month. So on top of, you know, having a baby, cleaning our house within an inch of it’s life, and generally trying to pack and prepare ourselves for the move, we actually have to MOVE. Yikes!

The good news is, over the weekend we made an offer on a house and it was accepted! So, barring any unforeseen issues, we’ve got our future home picked out.

The interesting part? It’s a new construction home! Yep, we’re leaving our charming, loved, old home for a completely new, never-been-lived-in house.

Layout- Front

Whomp, whomp.

Alright, so right now it’s kind of looking a little… unfinished, but by the time we move in a month from now, we should have a pretty close-to-finished home. I love the red exterior. It’s really fun in person, it just kind of looks dingy in this picture.

The one thing about this new construction home is that since everything is brand new, there won’t be a lot of the “work” that we’ve had to do with our first home, which is probably a good thing since we’ll be balancing a new job for Tim, as well as our new bitty family member. That being said, there’s a whole unfinished basement we hope to tackle while we’re there to make room for guests that might come out, as well as adding an office/craft room (CRAFT ROOM!!!) and other items. It also means we have a whole outside of our home that will need landscaping which might be something fun for us to explore. I might even go crazy and plant a fruit tree. Does fruit grow in South Dakota? (Just kidding)

Layout- Kitchen

Look! Open concept! Also the appliances haven’t been picked out yet (sorry about the photo quality, we forgot to take pictures). This kitchen overlooks the dining and living rooms which is awesome. It’s a great gathering space. Our house now is pretty open for its age, but the kitchen is still very segregated from the rest of the living space on the first floor, so I’m really excited for everything to be together like this.

Layout- Dining Room

They’ll be building a deck out that back which is exciting! The house is painted completely tan, which is something I’m dealing with. For those who know about my obsession with grey and white… this tan and mahogany combo is going to be a challenge for me. The house is beautiful though, even if you can’t tell from the photos, so we feel incredibly blessed we were able to find it. Tim said I could paint the basement grey. I’ll take it.

Also, did I mention it has TWO bathrooms?


I might still fight Tim for the bathroom in the morning, just to uphold tradition. It’ll bring us closer together I think.

More updates to follow.