Category Archives: House

It’s A Summer Party…

… Come on come on come on! Yup, that was a TERRIBLE German song from one of my favorite soaps probably about 2 decades ago.  One thing I’ve learned from living abroad: Germans are known for bad taste in music. Not sure what happened after Bach and Beethoven but our (supposed) obsession with David Hasselhoff sure hasn’t helped us.

Anyhow, I’m another year older! I have no idea where the first half of the year went but it definitely flew by in what seemed like a split-second. Wasn’t it just last week that we had champagne at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve?! Alas, summer is pretty much in full swing here in the Carolinas. When I walk out the door in the mornings a blanket of heat engulfs me. I’m quite lucky with the new job though – they don’t cool the office down to icebox level (just to comfort level) so I can actually wear cute summer dresses to work! #winning

This past weekend I had invited a few people over to celebrate and I have to say, our house is just perfect for entertaining! So happy about that! Definitely was missing an attached outdoor space and the yard in my old apartment. I had found some cute decorative paper elements and finally found a reason to buy a few packs of those super adorable paper straws. The backyard looked awesome!

 

I slaved all day getting groceries, decorating and preparing shredded pork BBQ from the crockpot, a Greek salad and some delish pink lemonade cupcakes. It always looks so freaking effortless on Pinterest!!! Roar! OK so it probably would have been less stressful had I gotten up earlier and not procrastinated as long but come on, it was my b-day! Thank heavens for friends that don’t mind lending a hand when they come to party! Great times! The soccer world cup was on, we played some horseshoe toss, there was music on the patio and the sun was shining.

The best thing however was when Michael unexpectedly made it to the party! He was supposed to fly to South America but they wound up having enough crew and he was able to come home! Guys, you have no idea what it means when your junior pilot is home on a Saturday night AND it’s your birthday party! 🙂 SQUEAL!!!

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Spring is here!

Finally finally finally spring has arrived! This winter was unusually cold for North Carolina. It’s not every year that we get a foot of snow! Strangely enough zee parents kept telling me it was an unusually warm winter in Germany. Go figure!
In any case, spring is here now and will hopefully stay. Mind you spring in the Carolinas usually means 25C all of a sudden with a few days of what us Central Europeans think of as spring.
So while in the fall and winter we spent a lot of time working on our house’s insides now we’re hitting the yard.
I have this experiment going on called “a garden”. You could also call it project “I hope my thumb is greener than it looks”.
Michael helped me build a raised garden bed and fence and I sowed carrots, beers, spinach, arugula, mesclun and lettuce. Three weeks later things have sprouted!!! To me, that’s success! If all goes well we should be able to harvest our own organic, locally grown, garden to table veggies in a few weeks! OMG! My farmer step-dad is so proud.

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Then we also got patio furniture! In fact, I’m sitting on one of the comfy chairs right now typing this! The birds are chirping, Alfi-Dog is laying next to me and right at this moment life is good.
The patio is still work in progress and I have lots of plans for some more additions once I get back from next week’s trade show in – drumroll – Sweden!!!
For now, cheers my dears!

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Weeds! Weeds! More Weeds!

20140301-181824.jpgSomething that never crossed my mind when we compared new construction homes with mid-century houses were lawns. I thought of wonderful mature trees (some so mature that they had to be chopped 😦 ) but not of ill-maintained lawns.
Well, our lawn is pretty mediocre and got even worse this winter when we didn’t rake round 3 of leaves fast enough but eventually raked up a lot of grass with them, too. Still lots to research and work that needs to be done there to get somewhat of a lawn going again. And oh did I mention: mature trees = lots of shade. Great in the heat, not so great for the gardening. Shady grass por favor!

Anywhooo, I spent the last two hours weeding about a fifth of our backyard. You know something ain’t right when it smells like onions and garlic when you mow the lawn! Wild onions galore! Pesky little basturrrds! You can’t just rip them out like some of the other interesting specimen, nope they need to be dug up. Otherwise their cute little onions stay underground and just rapidly regrow their greens. Uffda! Peeps, one thing I’m learning: organic gardening is not for wimps!

But here it is, my proud bounty: a giant planter full of onions and weeds!

 

Living Room Make Over Part II

After Michael had surprised me with a newly painted room, we just had to properly furnish and decorate it. Before we even moved I had created a mood board of a golden fall inspired living room. We absolutely fell in love with the aspen painting by Parvez Taj and coincidentally it popped up on one of those deal websites on sale and I snatched it up like a dollar bill on the side walk. Pew pew!

We used a few existing pieces of furniture and bought a couple of new ones and  slowly we turned the midnight blue bat cave of gloom into our wonderfully warm, cozy and bright living room:

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We were both impressed by the huge leather sofa from Pottery Barn. I had never been the biggest leather fan thanks to black, bulky bachelorpad-style sofas but this one is sooo soft and warm looking, we had to have it! Not to mention it fit perfectly in the window nook. PB collaborates with interior designers that scrutinizes your house for free and suggests lots of PB furniture to fill it. If going into Pottery Barn for furniture didn’t feel grown up then having their interior designer come to our home sure made me feel like an adult. Michelle was wonderful and had some great ideas for both of our living rooms. Mind you at that point this one was still midnight blue black. The cabinet and the lamp in the corner all came from Pottery Barn but she encouraged us to incorporate existing pieces as well. It was definitely a fun experience and she was so great to work with!

I got some throw pillows from World Market and was quite surprised by how reasonably priced they were compared to some online options. How cute is that owl?! Don’t remember where the striped red ones came from – I’ve had those since my first apartment in Charlotte.

Michael found a hammered metal accent table thingy at World Market and we added two slipper chairs from Target that were nicely priced. It was tough to pick a fabric that wasn’t too boring but not too crazy either to compete with the aspen picture. Target did have tons of fun ones to choose from and they’re comfy, too! The original mood board had one leather seat but we both thought a single seat would have not been enough to carry that wall plus we didn’t like the matching one to our sofa and were worried about finding the perfect mismatch.

As for the rug, we had ordered a brown and cream one online. Eh let’s just say it looked like a brown mess. Yuk. Not a fan! After staring at way too many rugs (don’t believe me, check out my pinterest board ;-)) and vetoing each other’s choices we finally ordered the red/orange ombre one and are quite pleased with how it adds warmth to the room.

Looks like someone likes the new rug… 😉

Night And Day Living Room Make-Over Part I

The previous owners of our house had a pretty contemporary sense of design and we really enjoyed touring the house when it came back on the market. They had a great collection of eclectic art and fun furniture. So thankfully we didn’t have to do much with our dining room, kitchen, and bathrooms. However, once their furniture came out and we moved ours in, the midnight blue living room looked like a dark bat cave.

That color had to change! It was a depressing shade of midnight gloom. Ick. We had fallen in love with Parvez Taj’s picture of aspen trees that’s leaning against the wall and wanted to find a warm color for the perfect backdrop. On top of that, the dining room is attached so the color needed to look good with the white and grey colors from there, too.

It was easy to decide on yellow but holy moly, there is no such thing as yellow or 50 shades of yellow. There are “Honeycomb”, “Yellow Brick Road”, “Twenty Karat”, “Heart of Palm”, and even “Jersey Cream”. Way too many! Ever thought your job was horrible? Be glad you don’t have to come up with paint names!!

PearI like bolder colors, Michael likes subtler colors but in the end we were both OK with a Valspar color called “Pear” (EB14-3). We got a little sample and painted a poster board to hold it up against the wall in different lights. And then we just knew that was the one. No not really. It was a lot of going back and forth but in the end we just didn’t find anything better. The next big Sherman-Williams sale came and so we pulled the trigger and had them mix up a few gallons. Yay our living room was going to look like a pear!

So then what you do is you go on a business trip to Germany and when you come back your living room has magically turned from super dark into wonderful peary yellow! It was an unbelievable surprise, in the week that I was gone Michael had patched up the walls, primed them (three times!!) and painted two layers of pear! It must have been completely miserable but what an awesome surprise!

Even the monster on TV is happy the gloom-blue is gone!

The transformation is incredible and seriously like night and day! Our living room is so bright and warm but without Michael’s fear of it “looking like a school bus!!”. It has easily become our favorite room of the house. Funny what a week in Germany can do. 😉