Aka Den Renovation. It’s fun to put words together. For example design jennspiration.

Anyway, we have spent most of our extra time the past few weeks updating the den… and it needed it!


This is the room that made us buy the house. It was a great bonus! Most of the houses at which we looked did not have a den and if they did it was tiny or weird. You can’t tell in the pictures, but all the walls are cheap-o 70’s panelling that was painted over, I’m guessing when they were selling the house. We actually don’t mind the panelling at all. It’s sort of charming and a throw back to what we are guessing was here originally. The only downside is that it is very awkward when you are hanging things on the walls. Dave wants to hang all of his guitars on the walls, but I am afraid the panelling just isn’t going to support that. AND- if you mess up, you are left with holes. It’s not as easy as fixing drywall. (Speaking of fixing drywall— I have been doing a lot of that too– I’ll keep you posted!)

Anyway, our immediate plans when we moved in were paint the walls, paint the fireplace, and add built ins to either side of the fireplace. So we’ve been here 5 months, thats not so bad, and we are just getting to it!

Some people gave us a little flack for wanting to paint the fireplace because the bricks are in such great shape. Typically, I like things in their natural state… wood, brick, etc. But, even though this room gets a pretty good amount of light for a basement type space, the dark brick made it seem even darker in here. And it made it SEEM like a basement (the brick and the lovely exposed pole we need to cover!) which is funny because it is the only room in the whole house that is on ground level. Interesting how split levels work.

The color we chose for the room was Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Gray. This is the same color we painted the little laundry/half bath down here. We loved it in that room and just decided it was best to carry it over. It’s a great neutral color and it looks super nice with white trim. (In my head I said “super nice” in this funny little way that made the whole sentence sound just right, but of course you can’t hear that.)

Below is the “Wall-O-Ahnquist”. It WILL be a collection of family photos along with that cute Ahnquist sign we got as a wedding gift. The house picture and the graveyard photo are pics that Dave picked up on a trip to Savannah when I was in school. They are great photos, but I don’t know if they will make the final “family photo” cut… just b/c they are a little creepy.

Next we painted the fireplace!! We primed it first with an oil based high heat primer because we do plan to use it one day. Then went over it with a gloss white anti-rust paint from Valspar. (Both recommended by Lowes, cross your fingers we don’t melt the place)

Ooo la la! Looks so much cleaner and brighter! Can’t wait to hang our stockings this year!

Then we primed and painted the cabinets white. We just bought the stock unfinished prefab cabinets at Home Depot (they were on sale). For the countertops we bought two pieces of plywood finished with an oak veneer. We stained them dark walnut and polyed them a few times. The depths of our counters are actually 28″ (standard is 24″) because we didn’t want the cabinets to butt up against the walls directly. Plus it gives us extra work space.

Dave’s dad came down and helped install them. We added a few finishing pieces on either side of the cabinets and under the countertop so they looked more custom. Then we added lots of chair and shoe molding so the rough edges didn’t show…. followed by lots of caulk to hide all the little cracks and crevices.



Here is a comparison picture.

TOTAL transformation. WOW. We are eventually going to buy a newer bigger fridge, which is why there is so much extra space around the current one. Oh… and the chair? Counter height chair found at Rooms To Go for 55$– it was the floor sample in mint condition. I will probably recover the seat at some point to brighten it up a bit, but we still love it. Plus, I love the counter height desk! I was skeptical, but it is fantastic. We still have some staging/organizing to do, but it looks 110% better!

Yay for one project down!!!!



It’s Just Another Manic… Thursday??

I was extremely excited yesterday because we were finally having our realtors over for dinner! They hadn’t seen the house since we’d moved in and we have made A TON of changes. So, I had to set my work aside and be a housewife for a day. By the way, you stay at home moms, I have SOOO much respect for you! I don’t even have children and I can spend ALL day long doing housework/running errands and following the pup around to make sure she isn’t in trouble. Whew, it’s tiring. But, speaking of trouble….

I really just think I need to copy and paste the email I sent to my husband yesterday. It sums up my morning the best. In the the subject line I put: “Dave-READ THIS WHEN YOU GET IT!” With so many forwards and spam emails, how do you make sure someone knows this email is FOR REAL!?! …. and he tends to put off reading stuff from me anyway.


So let me just tell you about my day.

First, I was on my way out the door when Allie decided it would be fabulous to play in the only dirt/mud pile in the backyard. SHE WAS FILTHY. I had to close her in the kitchen, change my clothes, and start her bath. In the MEANTIME, she decides it would be fantastic to SPLASH in her water bowl with her muddy feet, and then track mud all over the kitchen. YAY. I had to carry her up the stairs, which I will not be able to do for much longer, to give her her bath. Then, I had to clean up the kitchen before she could come back in.

Then, I was trying to leave AGAIN when my phone fell onto the kitchen floor. No big deal. Nothing broke. But now it says I don’t have  SIM card. So, I turned on and off my phone a few times… no luck.
I decided just to leave b/c I was sure I would pass an ATT somewhere. I went by Pier One b/c I had a gift card and just thought I would check it out and also I thought maybe I would run into an ATT. Nope. I drove down Whitebridge and down Charlotte to Nashville West, still no ATT. Of course, I would look it up on my phone at this point, but oh wait, I can’t. So, I proceed to WalMart thinking I’ll get my stuff and then maybe they will know where one is OR (and I wasn’t holding my breath) maybe the phone people in the back MIGHT know what’s wrong. Um, of course they don’t know. But, they do know the closest ATT is in GREEN HILLS?!?!?!!?! Which, I knew there was one there, but I thought MAYBE JUST MAYBE there would be one closer to our house. (I am still going to google.) Anyway, I was also directed to the wrong place in walmart for the lighter fluid, of course. (She led me to the cigarette aisle and I wasn’t sure I wanted to purchase BIC lighter fluid [for the grill]?) Then I also could not find avacados. Sheesh. I did get a very nice checkout lady who got me right away in the 10 items or less aisle. 
I left to go home, down Charlotte, and did you know school started today?! Well, apparently, there is THE MOST POPULAR SCHOOL on Old Hickory and Charlotte. Traffic was of course backed up. But, what school has so much traffic at 11:30??? Luckily, I was going straight and they were turning, so I didn’t have to sit there for too long. 
NOW, I am home. And I am going to go to the ATT store I guess to have my phone checked. The house is STILL A MESS, I still do not have avacados or lighter fluid and my phone STILL does not work. 
Anyway, I guess what I am trying to say is: COME HOME ASAP. And don’t try to call me or text me b/c as of right now, my phone is worthless. (however, I am sure I can still play tiny wings and if this day gets any crazier, I may just say forget it and do that.)
Okay, well LOVE YOU!
HAHAHA. I laugh just reading it. How can so many things go wrong in one morning? For the record, I googled AT&T and there is one right by my house. OOPS. Who knew?! (Actually, I did remember seeing the sign quite a few times before.) I took my phone to him (there was only one guy in the entire store) and he said (I didn’t catch his name though) that either I knocked my SIM card loose or I needed a new one. He took my card out of my phone (which I would have done, but I didn’t have that weird little key for the iphone… and I know, you can use a paperclip, but this is my morning of failures…) and then put it back in and VOILA! A working phone. Whew. Crisis averted.
But, on a much happier note… let me just tell you about my two GREAT finds from my crazy morning. (Hey, I still shopped during all that… I needed retail therapy.)
First of all, at Pier One I found this fantastic piece of art:
It was originally 250$, but marked down to 69.00! Woah Baby. Then, I had a 25$ gift card, so it only cost me about 50$ after taxes! I am super excited because I was nervous about finding something large enough for this wall that was in our budget of next to nothing. And, the colors are perfect! It even coordinates with that very large hand me down sofa from Dave’s parents. Don’t mind the rest of the room… still needs tons of work.
My next great find was this:
This was 10$ at Big Lots! Seriously? It is oh-so-perfect for our den because the bathroom/laundry room down here has yellow accents, our couches are brown and the living room color is close to that tealy blue. We’re also trying to go a teeny weeny bit “rustic” down here to accommodate Dave’s love of duck hunting, so this sort of ties in cuz it’s all natural and stuff. Or something. Ha. Plus, it fits on the mantle very nicely. We will eventually (meaning sooner than later) be painting the fireplace and the mantel and the den… so stay tuned.
Anyway… that was my Thursday, how was yours?

Couch (and Floor) Crashing

The best part of my “new job”? I get to work from home, i.e. from the COUCH!! I have an “office/art room”, but the couch is cozier and it’s in a room with a TV. I’m not really a big TV watcher, but I hate for things to be too quiet. And with just Allie, the dog who rarely barks, and me here all day, its fairly noiseless. Therefore, the couch has been my home for the past few days.

That couch is about 8 or 9 feet long and I still manage to use all of it, including the ottoman. That “thing” I am working on? An awesome light box that my dad gave me. It’s actually not meant for this at all; he bought it as a light up sign for his office. But, because the light box I already had was only the size of a piece of paper, and he wasn’t evening using this thing (that he probably spent quite a few $$ on), he offered it to me! I was pumped. (By the way, yes that is a Christmas throw on the couch. It’s really soft so we just use it all year round.)

Here I am getting all artistic on you. Ironically, I had just cleaned up a bunch of stuff before I went to take pictures, so this IS staged. However, it is exactly how it usually looks when I am working. Also, if you are observant, you will notice the picture I am “drawing” in this pic and the picture I am looking off of are not the same. I had to touch up a few things on that drawing, so I got it back out.

TA-DA! Pretty house I was just finishing up! One thing I L-O-V-E about my new line of work is all the amazing houses I get to render. I have done renderings for people all over North America and it’s just so interesting to see where everyone lives. And, I get to hear all kinds of fantastic stories. I recently did a drawing of a woman’s grandparents house that got destroyed in the Alabama tornadoes. I had to piece together some pictures and literally put the house back together! Everyone was okay, fortunately. But, it was so neat to be able to memorialize their house in one of my drawings!

Anywho, better get to rendering. Catch ya later alligator.

Day 1…

Now you just have to imagine that serious music they play on shows like 24 and Law and Order. Dun Dun… or something. Except we aren’t running OUT of time. Actually, it seems like I’m going to have a lot of time on my hands now. Ya know, besides the renderings I have to catch up on and get out to all of my patiently waiting customers, and the housework (I guess I finally have time to make the bed everyday, huh), and deciding what color to paint the den, (Seriously, I have been trying to decide FOREVER. But, more on that later.) and making sure Allie doesn’t feel attention deprived (Which is impossible I’m sure.). Yah, except for all that, I’m going to have all the time in the world. haha. Riiiight.

So, this is it. Here I am. It’s 6:52 am and I am in my den writing this post instead of arriving at work. I am about to take out the pup and apparently Dave left some laundry for me to do. (And so it begins…). If I’m not “working” why am I up at 6:52 you ask? Well that is a good darn question! I was wondering the same thing.

Just wanted to share a few highlights from my last day of work, yesterday. Sorry the pictures are awful, but they were all taken with phones. I didn’t think to bring my camera.

This is the balloon I found on my desk from my coworker when I got there yesterday morning! How sweet. She tied it to a blue Monster energy drink that she bought for me because she knows I am addicted. Bad habit, but there could be worse things.

So here I am all decked out in a bunch of random things I had collected at my desk over the past 2 years. And yes, the blanket says “Katie”; it is my sisters. I have one just like it but apparently I grabbed the wrong one. Call this my shout out to my lil sis.

My sooo empty and sad desk. Tear tear. The computer screens really blind you in this shot. Or maybe they also do in real life and that is why my vision has gotten progressively WORSE since I have worked there. Oops. Lucky my dad’s an optometrist. N.e.way… It used to be super cute and decorated with all kinds of pictures and stuff, but I packed them all away and then realized I should have taken a “before” pic. If you look up on the shelf, you can see all of my office supplies I no longer needed. I told everyone I had a little “store” going from which they could come “buy” things. Except for that none of it was really mine in the first place.

My coworkers also got lunch for the whole office! Lenny’s subs (yum!), chips and cookies. And that would have been enough for me. I stuffed my face like I would never eat again. To my surprise, just before I could tear into the cookie, one of the girls brought out this sweet cake. It had pudding on the inside, which was really delicious, but ironically, I had just finished saying I wasn’t a big fan of pudding. That’s always awkward. (If I was on my iphone or IM, I would put one of those little faces with the mouth all twisted up. :S) But, the cake was FAB and of course I ate a HUGE piece. I kept those little crayon boxes too. Aren’t they funny…. like I use crayons to color? (shhhhh, dont tell!)

Now that you are all caught up, I better leave you to do all of the things I quit my job for! Can’t play online all day, unfortunately.

Stay classy peeps. Catch ya on the flip side.

Let the pARTy Begin…

I will officially be DUN (aka finished) with my current job in just 2 days! Words cannot express how I feel about this life changing adventure on which I am about to embark. Of course, I am THRILLED…. I no longer have to wake up at 5 am (usually BEFORE the sun) and drive 40 miles to and from work (80 total) and spend beaucoup money on gas for a job that has nothing to do with my formal artistic training. (Even though my office was fabulous, I will miss those girls.) I will FINALLY get to spend ALL of my time working on my art and drawings. Woot!

HOWEVER- the pay is less (at least at first) and not as stable. And, I mean, will I be able to fully motivate myself every single day to work from home? Will I constantly be distracted by household chores and projects? Can I earn enough money to survive?!

Quitting my “big kid” job has been the biggest decision of my life- even getting married was easier. Luckily, my husband is uber supportive and [financially] really helpful. He’s getting all of the “business” aspects together so I can focus on the creative part. Our parents are all very excited and supportive too. Of course, they have the typical concerns…. money, money, and money. Isn’t my happiness important people?!

As scary as it may be, I feel like my life is actually about to begin. And my dad is finally going to see the pay off for my not-so-cheap college education… (I hope). Sometimes, you just gotta dive in head first! Well, at least I know i’m a good swimmer. ha.

Stay tuned!