in the garden

my mom took eleanor to the nursery a few weeks ago and together they picked out plants for our garden. before the rain came today we planted them. a couple of tomato plants, eggplant, peppers, a few herbs, and a couple flowers are now all in pots on our patio and eleanor couldn't be happier. she especially loves watering them and felix especially loves the dirt.








couldn't resist the pic of her in her underwear gazing proudly at her garden.

wanted: ceramic edition


clockwise from top left 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

when stijn and i first moved in together we married our ikea kitchenware collections leaving us with a large mismatched mix of functional dinnerware. as soon as we began planning for our kitchen renovation i knew that i wanted to decrease our plate, bowl, and mug collection into something more streamlined and long lasting. and as soon as the plans for our kitchen involved floating shelves i knew that it was time to get serious about the ceramic cups that would be gracing them. as it turns out i am nothing if not consistent. most of the cups i have collected on pinterest look strikingly similar to one another, they are all simple and in natural colorways. i have narrowed it down to these four beauties. i'm thinking a mix of two different styles: one mostly white/nuetral/grey, and the other with a bit of color. i think they will all go nicely with our vintage heath ceramic salt and pepper shakers, also crying out for exposed shelf space.

kitchen progress

we are in full on kitchen renovation mode over here and i thought i would share some progress shots with you.

>>> in addition to taking out the existing cabinetry and appliances we also removed a wall and the tile floors

>>> after the kitchen had been torn out and plumbing had been rerouted


>>> toothing new wood into existing wood floor


>>> new floors!!!

the old kitchen and flooring has been torn out, the plumbing has been rerouted, and new wood has been toothed in to the existing wood floors in what used to be the dining room, entry, and study. this house is already a breeze in comparison to our 120 year old historic home in holland. the floors are all level! that being said, we have run into some trouble. our floors have expanded over time meaning that when we went to add new 2 1/4" oak to meet the existing wood, every 4 boards or so we were left with huge gaps. luckily, we've got someone with high standards working on our floors and he has fixed the problem by adding a wider board (miniscule) every so often. the floors are in and you can't even tell which just makes me so happy. next week the floors on the first level will all be sanded and stained and we will be able to begin installing the kitchen and moving our furniture in. now to pick a stain color...i'm thinking something dark like this.

kitchen remodel: 3D renderings

if you follow me on instagram you know that we wasted zero time getting started on our kitchen remodel. within 36 hours of getting the keys to our house we had torn the kitchen out. now here we are living in a house without a kitchen eating food from a microwave and super anxious for the remodel to be complete. we're a long way off but with a plumber coming tomorrow to relocate some pipes and put in a water line to the fridge i almost feel like we're making progress.

i shared some of the preliminary plans for the kitchen a few weeks ago but sometimes it helps to see things in 3D. and sometimes your super talented, architect friends make it happen. here are some 3D renderings of the new kitchen.

3d kitchen renderings

3d kitchen renderings

3d kitchen renderings

how cute is that little nespresso machine on the counter? we've 86'd the vitsoe shelving in the great room and relocated it to the study in order to give us more room for the dining table. but this is pretty damn near what it will look like down to that nespresso machine.

kitchen remodel: inspiration

were getting closer to occupying our little mcm home and that mean closer to our kitchen remodel project. it looks like we are closing on oct. 11! one week away, friends.

when planning for the kitchen i began by gathering images as inspiration for what i had in mind.

kitchen inspiration

kitchen inspiration

kitchen inspiration

shockingly i love white, all white kitchens with carrara or calacutta marble. after some research it seems that the marble, while it occupies most kitchen dreams, is not the best choice for a space that would see the wear of someone who has children, enjoys wine, or actually uses their kitchen. so we are still debating countertops and searching for alternatives. for cabinets we are going with ikea again because it is affordable, well made, and fairly easy to install. in keeping with the mid century design of the house we are incorporating some custom wood door fronts, floating shelves, and a custom wood panel on the peninsula from semihandmade. we are switching to a gas range and upgrading on our appliances, going with the pro line from kitchenaid! we will be tearing out the tile floor currently occupying the kitchen and installing wood floors to match those on the rest of the first floor.

the plans are coming together and i can't wait to get started. any ideas on countertops are welcome...

you can see all my kitchen inspiration here

photo 1/2/3/4

the waiting


oh the waiting. friends, we are so ready to be in this house and yet, still no movement. so in the meantime while we wait, not so patiently, i have been distracting myself with renovation plans. i actually just thought to myself we don't have that much to do...except tear out a kitchen, and two bathrooms, refinish floors, paint every surface white, and rebuild the kitchen and baths. am i forgetting anything? oh yeah, replace the roof, and install a better drainage system outside. yup, not that much to do.!!! thankfully the kitchen remodel has turned into quite a lovely project for me to obsess over. the kitchen space in this house it quite a bit more complicated than our previous home and so instead of designing it myself i thought it would be smart to consult a professional. sometimes i have a hard time reconciling my ideal with what can actually be done within the confines of the space. and friends, this space is tiny and not so easy to work with. thankfully i happen to know an architect who loves modern and enjoys working on these types of things. so with her help i believe that we have come up with what will be a pretty badass kitchen. i can't wait to begin but since i don't own the home yet all gutting and remodeling will have to continue to take place in my head or here, virtually.

the current kitchen space is so small and cramped leaving the dining room also small and cramped. we have already decided that our table wont fit in the house and so resigning ourselves to buying a new, smaller one, was the first step in what turned out to be a brilliant idea. we have decided to allow the new kitchen to occupy what was both the kitchen and dining room. pushing our dining table into the great room.

kitchen before >>>view of the current kitchen from the current dining room

plans >>>preliminary drawings for the newly designed kitchen/dining/great room

goodness knows i want to cook in that kitchen as of yesterday so please, please, let this house come through soon!

the best news


friends, we received the best news yesterday. after two months of waiting to hear about the offer we put on a short sale mid century home, we learned yesterday that the bank has accepted our offer and we have a closing date of september 6th. that is two months earlier than we were told just a few weeks ago.

we have a house! we have a house! we have a house!

this is the first house we looked at when we came to cincinnati and the house we have been measuring each home since up against. it is considerably smaller than our home in holland but with a more open floor plan, lots of natural light, and a huge backyard for the kids to play. in just four short weeks we will have keys to our new house, what we're calling our "starter modern" and i cannot wait to make our home there. it's another project house because we just can't seem to help ourselves so stay tuned for more home renovation posts.


"bye bye house"

goodbye holland

goodbye holland

goodbye holland

goodbye holland

saturday was an emotional day for us as we packed up the rest of our belongings and said goodbye to the house that had become our home. it was so hard to leave the place that we had worked so hard to make into what we had envisioned. 192 w. 12th was a dream and where we thought our children would grow up. it's where we learned to tile and countless other home renovation projects. it's where eleanor learned to walk, and where our son was born. it was the beginning of our life as a family, it was the first home we would purchase together. it held 13 people when stijn's family made their first ever trip to the u.s. it held many conversations, many tears, many hugs, and lots of love. when we decided to move we knew that this would be one of the hardest parts but in the end we also know that it is just a house and everything that mattered left with us in that truck. there will be a different house, in another city, and it will house even more great memories. thanks 192 w. 12th for a great year and as eleanor says, "bye bye house."

"side" (outside)



this age, eleanor's, is proving to be one of my very favorites. daily she asks me to go "side" (her way of saying outside) and we head into the yard for her to explore. she runs around kicking or throwing her ball, picking up pine cones and sticks, watering her plant, asking me to blow bubbles, and chasing kenya. she runs to every plant, squats down and points, saying, "fower." i love watching her enthusiasm for nature. i have never been into gardening and nearly killed all of my plants last year (who knew i had to water them and my lawn everyday?) but having a toddler who is so interested in them has given me a new appreciation. i walk through the yard and marvel with her at the perennials that managed to survive my neglect and are poking up out of the ground. it was a long winter but this reward was well worth the wait.

being content


one of the greatest struggles for me as a homeowner is being content with where things are. we purchased our house knowing that it was going to take a lot of time, money, and work to get it to the place that we saw in our heads. and after a few months of said time, money, and work we found out that i was pregnant. this altered the amount of work that i was able to do and the labor fell onto stijn's shoulders. when we have been focused on a particular project he would come home from working all day only to work more in the house. we've made serious progress but there is still a lot left to do and with a new baby just around the corner we have had to prioritize projects and push others to the side. and this is where i get in the way.

i have always loved to create environments. whether it was in a coffee shop, or setting up pop-up sales for my vintage clothing, or just entertaining. i love to use a space to create a feeling. i find myself spending endless amounts of time on pinterest looking for inspiration and then planning out our renovations and what will go where in our home. the problem that arises is that it seems that there is always something else i want or feel that we need for our home. we have made a choice to have me stay at home with our children and being a one income family means that we do not have an endless budget for everything that pinterest inspires. (serious addict over here)and so i am learning to be content. i am learning that it is ok that our house isn't finished and that it doesn't have to be perfect before we have folks over. i am learning that my endless aspiring has a profound impact on the weight that my husband carries. i am learning how important it is for me and for him that i acknowledge just how much i love this home we are creating. i am learning to be satisfied.

when our guests arrived last weekend and we were giving the tour i found myself focusing on what we hadn't yet done. as though i needed to apologize for it not being perfect. and then jesse gave me the best compliment. he said, "it feels like home. it's comfortable and a place where i can relax and just be."

life and our home isn't the perfectly curated pinterest board or the carefully styled blog post. life and home is messy, it's lived in, there are toys, and dust bunnies, and cracks in walls, and uneven floors, and wallpaper hanging halfway from the wall (torn only to where i could reach without a ladder), and dog hair, lots of dog hair, and toys, toys taking over...but i love my life and so i'm learning. learning to be content.

a nook for eleanor

a nook for eleanor
a new tent

sunday was a stay in your pj's all day kind of day. we started by sharing pumpkin pie pancakes for breakfast while we watched cbs sunday morning (also known as my church). we then spent the rest of the day enjoying the little nook that we made for eleanor. we drew on her new chalkboard wall and read books in the a-frame tent stijn and i made for her yesterday. it's funny how this small nook made it really seem like a home here. i sat watching her scribble on the wall and thought about all that that wall would see; soon there will be a second name written on it, our children will practice writing their abc's on it... i can't wait to see how their imaginations develop as they draw, write, and express themselves in this space.

and please excuse eleanor's hideous pajamas; they were the only ones i could find over 12 months with footies.

weekend bits

our weekend was spent entirely working on the house. more specifically, on the kitchen. stijn and my dad tore out the existing kitchen, took down a wall, took down the drywall and plaster covering a brick wall, took out part of the floor, re-routed heating and electric, and began rebuilding the floor and walls. i spent the weekend painting, unloading the truck, removing wallpaper, entertaining eleanor, and getting coffee and food. i am so impressed by those two men of mine and so excited to see the kitchen transforming into what is sure to be my favorite room. watching my husband and my father work so well together was almost as pleasurable as seeing the room take shape.
as i moved boxes from the truck into the house i realized many of them haven't been opened in years, a side effect of years of feeling like at any point the rug could be pulled out from underneath me. i was once again overcome with the excitement of having a home and knowing that my things can come out of their boxes and that they won't be going anywhere again for a very long time. this weekend i felt a sense of security i haven't felt in a long time. i'm safe here, i can invest myself here because we, my little family, are creating this life here together. thanks again to my dad and to stijn for working their rears off this weekend. you guys are amazing!

the bathroom

did i mention we bought a house? have i told you yet that it's over 100 years old and hasn't been updated in about half of that time? have i even begun to tell you how many big and little projects there are for us to tackle?

here is an abbreviated list of what needs to get done in the interior of the house. (in no particular order):
1. take wallpaper down from every single wall in house
2. paint all walls and trim
3. remove carpet from all rooms
4. repair hardwood floors where necessary
5. tear out kitchen (including demo of wall)
6. install kitchen
7. update bathrooms
8. remove and replace all overhead lighting

after prioritizing our home projects we concluded that the bathroom and the kitchen were the two most important rooms to tackle before moving in as neither one would be fun to live through. and so began our first big redo: the full bathroom.

currently the full bath is a scary shade of blue painted over wainscoting, with a beautiful claw foot tub (also painted blue), and linoleum flooring. we're not quite sure what is behind that wainscoting and in an effort to keep projects manageable we have decided to leave it and give it a fresh coat of paint for now. as crazy as it seems we are painting it black. i love a black and white bathroom and think it will work beautifully in this space. we are also tackling our first tile project and by we i mean stijn. i am in charge of creating the vision for the space, painting, and dealing with the tub. i can't wait to see it all come together. and for those of you doubting our paint color choice just you wait! as stijn says, "it's classy."

here is our inspiration


home is where...


house buying is stressful! truth be told stijn and i have been through the ringer throughout this process. because stijn is a foreigner, and therefore has no credit score here, the process of securing a loan has proven to be quite difficult. unfortunately, because i am not currently working and therefore have no steady income, my credit does not count. we understood that this was going to be the case and were prepared to have to jump through more hoops in order to purchase a home but we had no idea that it would be this frustratingly disorganized. the bank and underwriter seem to be flying blind, not able to anticipate what is needed, and therefore asking for the same document 10 times. you may recall that this is nothing new for us. we are well versed in difficulties with communication. (see story of our marriage) it just feels like we are wasting time and as our close date draws nearer it becomes painstakingly clear that we are not going to make this deadline.

in an effort to remain positive and to keep my level of enthusiasm high i now engage in daily drive-by's of our house. yesterday on our way to dinner while stijn was venting about a telephone conversation he had just had with the loan officer my car steered itself in the direction of that historic brick home with it's trees blossoming and it's tulips opening. just a reminder that it is all going to be worth it.

this house means more to me than i thought it would. i have realized that i have not had a home in years. the last time i felt at home was early in 2007, in my loft in over the rhine. in the spring of that year i packed everything and moved to hawaii to work on a coffee farm. when i came back and moved into my partner at the time's home i never unpacked. i never fully moved in. there just didn't seem to be room for me there. when that relationship ended i moved into a house once owned by my great grandparents. i had big plans for that little house but my reconnection with stijn and all the travel that went with a very long distance relationship kept me from fully committing to a home there. soon i was moving again, this time overseas, and again into someone else's home. stijn and i tried to make that apartment ours but knowing that it was only temporary made it hard to want to invest and settle. i do not see home as a place that houses possessions and i know that home is where we are and can be anywhere we make it but there are a few things that always make me feel like a place is mine, the most important of which, is my books. i am a book hoarder. i'm not a borrower of books nor a lender because my personal library is one of the things that i take great pride in. i love seeing all the stories that have marked my life lined up on a shelf. i love occasionally looking through them and remembering where i was when i was engulfed in a particular book. reading has always been a big part of my life and i wish for it to be the same for my children. i look forward to the day when eleanor looks through her parents book collection and picks one up to read. my books have been packed away in boxes for 5 years and soon they will be freed from their cardboard cages and lovingly placed on shelves to be admired and remembered again.

these are the thoughts i cling to as we struggle through the administrative process of home buying. soon we will have a home. a yard for eleanor to roll around in the grass, squirrels for kenya to chase, a porch for us to enjoy coffee on, a kitchen fully stocked with everything for me to test new recipes, bookshelves for us to unpack and arrange our books on... these are the things that keep me going through the difficulties. envisioning our life there in that house on 12th street. and what a beautiful life it is.

weekend bits


we spent the weekend almost entirely making plans and preparing for the house. we are supposed to close this friday and being that we will only have one month in between closing and when we need to move in we are trying to prioritize projects (and there are many). saturday we took a trip to grand rapids and test drove a car, had a picnic in the park with some of the best food, met up with new friends for coffee and walks, introduced eleanor to sushi, and ordered lots of furniture for the house. sunday we went to home depot to get ready for our bathroom tiling and painting projects, had pizza, and watched mad men. i'm starting to feel a little less overwhelmed by the work that the house will require now that i have organized my thoughts and things are starting to take shape. now lets just cross our fingers that this is a smooth week and that closing on friday does indeed happen.

because of the new addition to our family (the house, not another child!) you can expect to see some home inspired posts on this blog; inspiration, before and after projects, and general home ownership stuff. yay!

weekend bits

a weekend of firsts here in holland including eleanor's first swing set, our first trip to the dog park, and eleanor's first sled ride (thanks to my dad and his awesome christmas gift). we found out last night that our offer was accepted on a house. we are so excited and while we wait on our house we are already making a home.

more photos here

getting settled


it's been five days since we arrived in holland and we've spent those days getting settled here in our new home. our temporary apartment is unbelievable, a three story vacation home right on lake macatawa and just a one mile walk from lake michigan. our location has made my jump back into running quite enjoyable. i haven't fully explored downtown holland but i did discover a coffee shop that, while not my style, makes an excellent real cappuccino.

some first impressions: holland is not as small as i originally thought, the lakes are absolutely beautiful, people talk funny, and grocery shopping here is depressing.

i'm looking forward to our first weekend to explore holland together.

big news

i've been a firm believer that things always work out and over the last two years i have found myself speaking those words over and over again to reassure myself and stijn as we just focused on the next thing.

stijn had been looking for a job in cincinnati pretty much since i moved here and with a few leads we decided to set a date for our move to the u.s. and trust that things would fall into place. some may call making a decision to leave a job to move across the world without knowing if there will be a job waiting there for you crazy but for us it was a logical risk. sure we had some fear, after all it's not just the two of us anymore. what if none of the leads came through? how long could we live off of savings? and then just three weeks before our move stijn's hard work and our trusting paid off. stijn was offered an amazing opportunity...

what do these three images have in common?

if you guessed holland, michigan; congratulations! here's what i know about holland. it was settled by dutch immigrants (there is a windmill, a wooden shoe factory, and a tulip festival to prove it), home to hope college, it's a two and half hour drive from chicago and thirty minutes from grand rapids, it's a tiny town on a lake, it's cold and snows, and they make good beer. we will be moving to holland for stijn to work for herman miller. no it is not cincinnati but it is a dream job for him. we are relieved and incredibly excited to start the next chapter of our life there as a family.

weekend bits


saturday we went for our usual walk through the market at riponne and ran errands checking things off our ever expanding to do before move list. sunday we spent the day organizing and packing with little breaks here and there for dance parties. not the most fun of weekend activities but for two people who love to make and cross things off of lists it was remarkably joyful. unfortunately my body finally gave in and committed to being sick. despite feeling like i was hit by a truck i'm super excited because my mom arrives tomorrow for one last week of fun here in switzerland. yay!


le bébé room

here is a little sneak peak at our baby girls digs. since we don't plan on being here long we didn't want to make any large investments or make any huge changes but that didn't stop us from making a simple cosy little space for her.


dresser, crib, and makeshift closet: ikea, knobs on dresser: anthropologie heart print: arian armstrong, sophie the giraffe: park and vine, hedgehog: purchased in spain, abc print: rifle paper co., giraffe print: mica12V, mobile: petit collage, not pictured: vintage eames rar rocker, and ikea expedit shelving

more pictures on flickr