Our house

**I am reposting this page because I’ve updated almost every room and I want to have a page on the blog with all the links in one place.

I really want our home to be a haven from the world, a place dedicated to the Lord where we can recharge and also serve others in hospitality. As a homekeeper/keeper-at-home/homemaker/whatever-you-call-it, I think that involves three main realms of responsibility (not including responsibilities as a wife and a mother): household cleaning/organization, decorating, and atmosphere.


For the household cleaning/organization, I turn to Auntie Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter. She has an excellent SERIES ON CLEANING. And she shares a bit on her cleaning philosophy here: We are not about perfection. We are about competence. AND We are about trying to have a minimum of order so that we can pursue the wonder — order in the home, order in our days — wonder in our time together as family and friends and with God.


For the decorating, I turn to Darlene at Fieldstone Hill Design blog. This is just a lovely house, so there really isn’t much that I could do to mess it up decorating-wise. But, if I don’t have a plan, I could spend good money on things that don’t look good together, don’t work in the room, etc. . . . Since nobody likes to waste money, Darlene suggests thinking about your personal design style and writing down a list of words – in order to help you buy only things that you really really love. So when you hold out for the things that you LOVE and DON’T buy things that you just like, even though they were on sale, etc., it saves you money and your house isn’t filled with stuff that you feel so-so about. That really resonated with me. So, now I’m trying to be really intentional about what I bring into the house and getting rid of as much stuff as I can if I don’t REALLY love it. And, I am trying to be patient until I find just the right thing.

Nicole’s Personal Design Style Words


glamorous, sophisticated. For example: turned wooden furniture legs on casters, Carrera marble (I want this for my dream kitchen counters – I even love marble when it is stained and not perfect – it is still lovely to me), crystal chandeliers, and un-lacquered brass fixtures — but only in applications that won’t get ruined by an active family


farmhouse, utilitarian, hard-working, enduring, durable, easy-care (wipeable), rugged matte-finish metals, raw/distressed wood — for furniture items that get USED and abused – like the dining room table, flooring, and seating.


airy, breathes, flows (more of a feeling than any particular color or fabric)


serene, uncluttered, organized, clear surfaces (i.e. no decor items on tables, etc. so you can actually use them without having to clear it off first)


unique, wood (grey, white, medium/natural, weathered, limewash), lots of natural elements, interesting textures

Classic & Timeless

This is a slippery slope for me because while I really do love classics, I do NOT want my house to look like old people live here! I am attracted to a lot of old things, but I need to remember to mix in some modern things to keep it from feeling frumpy and boring (see next). I love carved wood, but I really prefer Louie XVI with straight lines to the easier-to-find-on-craigslist Queen Anne or Louie XV curvy styles.

with Unexpected Touches of Whimsy

So, while I want to furnish my home in mostly solid, neutral colors (gray, beige, linen, leather, wood, etc.), I also want to add pattern/bold color/pattern in TEMPORARY applications and SMALL doses (Darlene calls them punch colors) like fresh flowers, accessories, pillows, etc.. NO patterns or colors on major pieces of furniture (unless it is easy and inexpensive to change when I get tired of it).


Finally, my job is to set the right atmosphere in the home (i.e. have a good attitude). And nothing can spoil my attitude like a spirit of discontentment (which is the same as ungratitude, i.e. the opposite of eucharisteo). So, I remind myself that this world is not my home – my real home is a palace in heaven. My job is to be a good steward of God’s possessions (including this house) while I am here on earth. And I am trying really hard to hold this home (and all my other blessings) with a loose hand because God owes me NOTHING. So, I will live gratefully in this house as long as we live here, and I will live gratefully wherever I live next. I’d rather have a shack built upon the Rock than a palace built on the sand.


So, without further ado, here is our new house!


main level/downstairs:

Entryway, Laundry Room & changing station

Keeping Room/Homeschool Room (beginning/plans, progress, more progress, and DONE)



Dining Room

Living Room/Family Room/Fireplace Room (in progress, basically done)






Everett’s room and kids bathroom and a beginning of Adele’s room

Adele’s room (art update, rug, and DONE)




laundry chute room (Eleanor’s nursery)

Master bedroom and bath



guest suite/sewing room




our permaculture-ish suburban backyard with earth oven (progress shots and DONE)

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Finished Schooling Room

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This room gets a lot of use! In addition to the large desk area which I use for painting, calligraphy, etc., as well as a little south-facing greenhouse, all our craft supplies housed in the armoire, and of course our school books in our faux built-in bookcase, its large open area is great for free play. Right now, Adele has made a house with two large cardboard boxes, but at other times she can be found in here playing with our large exercise ball or an elaborate Citiblock structure.

You can see where we started with this room (along with my plans and ideas) HERE and some progress HERE.

Living Room Update – October 2014

I finally figured out what to do above the mantle – that’s right, enormous chalkboard! This is the huge piece of MDF that Kent bought for me for my DIY aquaboard project. I didn’t like how the painting was turning out and I really didn’t want to commit to a single piece of art. And, this room is pretty neutral and monochromatic, so all the paintings I liked had lots of color, which I didn’t really want in here. So, I bought some chalkboard paint and . . . big, black chalkboard + bible verses that I can change on a whim = an inexpensive win, win!

I am still displaying the eucharisteo banner because, well, I still need the reminder. I added a some pom-poms for a little (quick, easy, and free!) pep.P1060153P1060152 P1060150

Here’s a shot of the north wall with the French doors that lead to the non-deck. And, you can see the brown ottomans flanking the fireplace – we use them for toy storage, but they double as extra seating (moved forward in front of the fireplace) when we have a crowd over.


I’d still like to move the Queen Anne chair and ottoman up to our bedroom and get a neutral chair in here that doesn’t need to be covered in a sheet.

Something like this:


But I’m waiting for the green light from the hubster. =)

You can see where we started with this room HERE.

Finally, the Basement!

Are you tired of reading about my house yet?

Our basement is earth-banked on the west side and level with the outside on the east side. This is a pretty clever use of a very skinny sloping lot, as you get the temperature benefits of being underground as well as the natural light from windows on the east and walk-out French doors to the patio. The basement is really spacious and has more natural light than most basements. And, because it has a full bath, it doubles as our guest room.

As far as sewing goes, this is where the magic happens. I am in the middle of several projects right now (Eleanor’s hexagon quilt and cushion covers for Adele’s window seat), so my sewing area is kind of messy, but honestly this is way cleaner than usual. That blue and purple quilt was made by my grandmother – I’m just quilting it for her (almost done!). That quilt is on a rolling cupboard that came (free!) with the sewing table (from craigslist) and it holds all my thread, sewing notions, elastics, etc. . . .


And like magic – the bed is made!


You can see the beginning of Eleanor’s quilt on the design board (leaning against the wall int he pic above), but I am going to add in some muslin and white fabrics to lighten it up a bit. I’m going for a low-volume quilt – mostly whites, beiges, and linens with some muted purples and pinks.

About the design board – I think you should make one! It’s a hollow-core door (easy to find on craigslist or very inexpensive new at a big box store), covered in a layer of batting then a layer of muslin (flannel would be even better) and stapled around on the back side. And, when I need to press a lot of large items, I lay it over the day bed, and like magic, it’s also a pressing board at a perfect standing height.

The armoire you see on the left down there holds my quilting cottons, vintage feedsack fabrics from my grandmother, cotton velveteens and corduroys, patterns, interfacings, button collection, etc. . . .

This picture (below) shows the west side of the room and I’m so glad we had room for the Victorian couch down here. It doesn’t work for our current living room (too long) and it needs to be reupholstered (but all those tufts are so intimidating!) and refinished to show its true beauty. So, here it sits, fully functional for a basement, awaits its makeover.

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A Nature Journal Entry – Fall Leaf

While we were in Connecticut, I started feeling really tense and had a pretty bad headache, so Kent told me to try painting. Sidenote, I have experienced sinus pressure and pain around this time of year at least since I was a teenager – it’s not because I was with my in-laws! =)   Anyway, I chose a leaf (maple, I think) that was vibrant and also had a lot of brown spots. I had recently read an article on dry brush technique for nature study and it said to try to paint the holes and imperfections in the leaf. Unfortunately, the leaf has lost a lot of its color in the couple of days that it took me to finish the painting, but I think you can still see the resemblance =)

Painting is just super relaxing to me – I wish I could paint a little every day!





After 10 days away, I have a lot of laundry to do, but the house isn’t too bad! Eleanor is cutting her first tooth! She prefers to be held, though, and I don’t mind =)


Earth Oven – DONE!

Our first loaf of sourdough in the new oven. Next up, pizza!P1060115

Here is the finished oven! Kent wanted the firebricks to stick out a bit so he could stick a metal dustpan underneath the lip to catch ash, which meant I couldn’t build the plaster out in the front. But I’m glad that I rubbed a super-thin coat of plaster onto the front of the “bricks” that the oven is built on, because it gives the stove a much more unified look now that it is all one color. Obviously, sawhorses aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing way to build an earth oven, but we are still REALLY happy with it! I put a picture of the stove before the plaster layer (and before the insulation layer) below this picture so that you could compare without having to go to the previous post. I think it makes a BIG difference!

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