Category Archives: House

City Pretty

City Pretty, also known as Mother Nature lives in the city too, or when man and nature collide. I might change the name of my City Pretty series, since it’s mostly my fascination with the beauty that happens when plants and buildings meet. We will see what I come up with, or not!

Estelle and I were walking home from the pharmacy yesterday when I spotted this lovely flowering plant growing on someone’s front stair rail. It stuck out because it was looking rather lush in a sea of brown dry grass and leaves. Seriously, it looks very autumnal when I look out of my window at work. We need rain!

Private residence, South Philadelphia

Yes, I really do use the word autumnal in real life. David makes fun of me for it. It’s just such a perfectly descriptive word.

Real life calls…I must make dinner.

Until next time,





Living Room Rearranging

Sorry, I’m slowly getting back to the blog world after vacation. This was our first two week vacation in a very, very long time. All three of us finally got used to sleeping in past 8 am by the second week. We were with David’s family at Fenwick Island, DE for a week and then headed down to visit my folks in Norfolk for the other week. Minimal sight seeing means maximum relaxation, which we definitely achieved. We came back feeling refreshed despite the oppressive heat, which has thankfully broken here in Philly.

In fact, we were so energized, we decided to do some furniture shuffling and cat fur cleaning in an only-slightly-air-conditioned house (we have one window unit in our bedroom). The downstairs thermostat hovered between 87 and 89 degrees all weekend, which was just fine if you didn’t move or were coming from the 103 degrees outside.

If you are not familiar with our downstairs layout, it’s pretty simple to explain. Our living room and dining room are all one room, which is connect by a large doorway to the kitchen. When we first moved in to our house, we invested in a fairly pricey (for us) storage cabinet/sideboard for our long wall. It came from Material Culture, a very cool/weird/huge furniture and home store we don’t visit nearly enough. The sideboard helps to store things, duh, and it helped to visually separate the living area and dining area. Check out some BEFORE images:

Now, see the AFTER photos:

Nothing dramatic, nor is it 100% done. We still need to adjust the stuff on the walls a bit to help zone off the toy area. I’m also not loving the toy storage as is, too many toys, not enough basket. I would like to find a cool bench for under the coat rack, eventually. We couldn’t bring ourselves to lay out the wooly rug with us being so hot and sweaty, it’s rolled up under the sofa for now. I’m sure things will continue to shift and move as we live with this layout for a bit. I’m loving the sideboard as sofa console. It’s like a best buddy that’s always there to hold your drinks and provide some light.

Speaking of best buddy…David and I saw Ted last week. It was funny, and weird. We find ourselves giving big Papa Bear sideways glances every now and then.

You all have a good week. I really am feeling refreshed, we’ll see how long it lasts! Our plants on the other hand, they have been beat up by the sun and heat. Hopefully I can find a City Pretty spot later this week.


Bedroom To-Do List

This weekend was primarily devoted to cleaning and visiting with friends and family. No home projects, which was fine by us! We enjoyed it!

This is our bedroom from last month. If you want more images, you should check out the Our House link above! Yes, that is lazy…our computer is achingly slow tonight. My apologies.

We are letting three paint samples stew on our bedroom wall for a little while until we can agree on a favorite.

A = Benjamin Moore Blue Heather

B = Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue

C = Benjamin Moore Serenata

At the moment, we are using the photograph by Christian Chaize in the image above as room color inspiration. It was difficult to photograph due to the glass reflection. You can find something similar by the same artist at 20×200. The print we have is sold out. Basically, we’re going for something blue and soothing with pops of color.

We have some other inspirations too!

We got the idea of Blue Heather from our local Capogiro Gelato store. David  asked the girl at the counter if she knew the paint color. She went down to the basement to get the name and number, so nice. I love the bright blue and orange with the Blue Heather walls, but I’m concerned that the art we have on our walls isn’t nearly as cohesive as the black and white photos on these walls. The wall color definitely changes depending on the light, and is reading more grey here. It’s David’s favorite, and my second favorite (meaning I could be convinced).

Palladian Blue seems to be pretty popular in the blogoshpere, so we have plenty of inspiration. For the sake of my sanity and a decent bedtime, I will limit our examples to one. I think Katie’s new office over at Bower Power best shows what a neutral Palladian Blue can be. She uses so many great pops of color. We had already agreed to paint the bottom portion of our walls white to mimic a wainscot when we realized this room had a white wainscot too.

Palladian Blue is my favorite. It looks too sea-foam green next to the other two blue samples, which is David’s major hesitation.

Serenata was quick pick when I was in the Benjamin Moore store. Unfortunately, I have no visual examples!


Thanks for your input! Here is the promised to-do list. We don’t actually have one in writing, so this might help us get moving.

  • Pick a wall color
  • Buy paint and supplies
  • Paint walls and trim
  • Design and build a headboard shelf in the bed nook
  • Repaint a couple of canvases
  • Hang stuff on walls
  • Neutral/sand color rug
  • Move two file cabinet side tables to the basement
  • Find new side table, something bright?
  • New comfy corner chair?
  • Ditch the curtains, and get white cellular shades
  • Buy new low-profile platform bed, maybe a new mattress, eventually

What’s this headboard shelf in the bed nook I speak of? Here is the image that sparked the idea, granted it’s a bathroom…just use your imagination. We haven’t sketched anything out yet, but it will span the nook where our bed currently is.

The rest of the list hasn’t really been researched much. I have researched beds a bit, but mostly because ours is on its last leg. I haven’t found anything that lines up with what we have in mind and in our wallet!

Hopefully we’ll have bedroom news to report soon. Get your mind out of the gutter, Mom:) It’s a realistic goal that we might be able to pick a paint color, buy the paint, and sketch the headboard this month. I have a lot more bedroom ideas and inspirations on my Pinterest board.

I should be back later this week with a City Pretty post!

Have a good week,



Not sure if this counts as my City Pretty post for the week. The week is still young. Doesn’t it feel like Friday?! I have the perfect City Pretty spot in mind…just not sure if I have time for the detour.

We did gardening this weekend, which included getting some new plants at our fabulous neighborhood garden store, Urban Jungle. There isn’t much color in our yard, yet. The azaleas already bloomed, and the hydrangeas have yet to bloom. I have a thing for plants that come back year after year, mostly because I’m lazy. The perennials I like tend to be less floral in nature.

My favorites are the new corkscrew plant and my confederate jasmine. My theory is that the heat island effect in the city keeps the jasmine alive in the winter. It is usually found in warm places like Charleston, SC. That is where we went for part of our honeymoon, so it holds a special place in our hearts.

I didn’t do before and after photos. That takes too much planning, and the before was similar, just less green.

In process in the back “yard”:


View from kitchen window:



Chives and an olive tree:


We even have cat grass for Lola:




Now for the front area:


Grass detail:


Speed racer watches over the house…


As does Lola.



Wash n’ Fold

A woman on a neighborhood group forum was seeking new dishwasher suggestions, complaining that she has had to hand wash dishes for a week because her dishwasher broke. Um? Seriously? It took all I had not to reply to her post. Not everyone has a dishwasher, in fact, we should rejoice in just having clean water and soap. Sorry, that is a little preachy.

I feel the same way when I look at people’s really lovely laundry rooms. Yeah, I’m a little jealous, but I don’t let it get to me. I have a washer and dryer in my house, which is still very much a luxury to me. Before moving to our house three years ago, we did laundry at Laundromats. It’s a chore, but you get all of your laundry done in about 2-3 hours! Bonus!

Our current laundry set-up is in the basement. It has a nice dungeon/hoarder/practical vibe going on. Hey, everything works right now, so you will hear no complaints from me! The front doors to these small row houses and the doors to the basements are very narrow (30″). Most washer and dryers won’t fit, which leaves us with the few that can be assembled in your home. The washer came with the house, and the dryer was purchased from a local appliance store. In the case of small dwellings, I would recommend going with someone local who knows what will fit and how to assemble on site.


Why did this topic of laundry even cross my mind, you ask? Well, we just received a fresh shipment of my favorite detergent, Charlie’s Soap. It’s an old standard we used to wash Estelle’s cloth diaper covers. I like it, so I order it when I can. I also needed dryer sheets, and was overwhelmed with the variety on I opted to go green this time around and try out the Meyer’s Lavender Dryer Sheets. I could smell them before I even opened the box, and I immediately had laundry on the brain. They smell great! Clean and fresh, so much so, that I put one upstairs to freshen up the air. I’ve never been so excited to do laundry, dungeon and all. That’s probably a really dorky thing to admit, but I never claimed to be cool.


You will notice some spray paint projects sitting on the dryer. Those are frames (and a birdcage) to spray paint. I got as far as partially organizing frames and wall art last weekend, so at least we’re ready to paint when we carve out some time.

I am posting this from my brand new iPhone! It is an early birthday gift from David and Estelle…thanks, you two! I really am living in luxury.


Philadelphia Rowhouse Manual


The Philadelphia Rowhouse Manual is a wealth of information. There are old rowhouse images and floor plans towards the beginning. Our house falls under the category of late 19th-century, small, workingman’s house.

In slightly related news, the 1940 census results have been digitized and made public as of this month. If you have an older U.S. address, you can search for your house or that of your ancestors. In looking at our block in the 1940s, we had a family of 4 in our house, but there were two separate sets of neighbors with 5 sons each! Woah! If they can raise 5 boys in a house this size, we are not insane for thinking we can make it work with 1 or 2 kids. I could look at census results all day, so it’s a good thing I sometimes get to do it for work.

The above image is found in the Philadelphia Rowhouse manual, but it is also from Apartment Therapy’s post about the manual.


Real World: Philadelphia

Word on the street is that they are casting for Real World: Philadelphia (again). I’m not sure how or why I know this when I didn’t even think that show was still on the air. No, this isn’t a post about how I have hopes of being on a Real World season…those dreams died by the time I graduated college.

This is A HOUSE TOUR post! A very real house tour! By real, I mean barely tidied, not clean, and my photos are not edited…as you can probably tell by the yellow-ness. I had about 20 minutes to take these photos, and only just now noticed the hat on the globe and (hopefully clean) socks on the kitchen counter. Nice. Anyways, nearly every room of our house is in progress. Maybe not the living and dining areas so much, but the table gets moved to accommodate 6 or more dinner guests sometimes. I only wish the kitchen was in progress, but that is just in progress in our heads for now. We have oodles of framed things not on the walls upstairs due to the wall building project we started in the fall. Also, it’s really hard to take photos inside a small house.  Perhaps I should try a video next time around. I will be back with a better house tour when things are a little more finished. Next year, maybe? I wish I was kidding.

The gallery order is entry/living room/dining room, kitchen, upstairs hallway, bathroom, Estelle’s toddler room, the nursery, and the master bedroom (click images to enlarge gallery).

Some things to note:

Estelle’s purple wall is impossible to capture on camera.

The nursery is one hot mess. We left the crib, but there are no siblings for Estelle in the works just yet. Taking apart a crib is just not a priority, and I don’t want to get used to that space being available. I guess we should stop using it as toy storage, huh?

We have only one closet in our entire house…it’s that glorified bookshelf with a door in the master bedroom. It’s not deep enough to fit a hanger, so we added shelves. Good thing we have a basement, which was purposefully excluded from this tour. It’s especially scary right now.

Do you have any easy interior photo tips? Please tell. Do you have questions about things you saw on my very uninformative tour? Please ask. If you think I need to really keep things real by including  a basement photo, just let me know. I’m not ashamed of my basement status, just short on time and daylight to fully capture the glory.