Skip to content

Welcome Back

October 9, 2012

I can’t believe it’s been over two months since posting – I thought our busy schedule was going to slow down after summer, but I think it’s actually picked up. We’ve been gone almost every weekend the last two months and are busy and gone the next 1.5 months. Who want’s to grab dinner November 15, I think we are free! I’m certainly not complaining, it’s all good things, I’m thankful we are able to be on the go all the time, but I am ready for a night off with a little R&R at home.

Warning: This post is filled with a lot of random photos and not a lot of substance. Bear with me here as I jump back into the blogging game 🙂

Weekends at the Lake with family and friends

Celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary!

We visited Kohler Andre State Park for our annual anniversary camping trip and thought it couldn’t possibly be any colder than it was last year, but it was. And we froze. But the days were sunny and warm{er}.

Our yearly family photo {take by the Love Tree}

I wanted to be all nostalgic and take photos each anniversary with us holding the previous photos…something cute like the photo below that i saw on pinterest...


but that just didn’t happen for every reason possible – and I realized I really didn’t want to frame/display photos of me holding other photos.

Here are our photos the last two years. I think if we get a photo each year, that’s good enough for me:) Look for us in awkward family photos!

Packer Game at Lambeau Field

And a Michigan Wedding!

And just for fun…a random Instagram Collage of the past two months…On Instagram? Follow me! >> KMHANS

I have a toasty batch of  pumpkin seeds in the oven as I type this and a mug of hot cider on my desk. Do you do anything special to embrace this cozy time of year?  We are heading out to New England to spend some quality time with  dear friends next week. Leaf peeping, hiking the mountains, exploring the coasts and catching up in the city.

Happy Tuesday my friends and stay tuned for lots of fun new DIY Design Projects & More!

Easy Breezy Weekend

August 3, 2012


TGIF! I am looking forward to a weekend of fresh air, a clean house,  free time and lots crossed off my to-do list. It’s a rare occasion but neither of us have plans this weekend and we are so looking forward to it. “Disconnect to Reconnect” << love that! I hope everyone has a good ole’ easy breezy summer weekend.


Just add stripes

August 2, 2012

I’ve got a 5 minute fix for you! With a simple ceramic pot, craft paint and sand paper, turn a cheap Ikea ceramic pot from blah to ooh-la-la. It’s no secret that I love anything striped so I figured a few gold stripes are just what the photo shelves needed in the Blue Room.

There is something you can’t fake about hand painted items – the inconsistency of the paint stokes are perfect!

The pot I had to work with already had ridges in the design, so I wanted to use those as my guide to paint. It’s a glazed pot, so the paint didn’t initially stick. I grabbed some sand paper and roughed up each stripe to give a little texture for the gold paint to stick to.

Another quick fix I did with old terracotta pots HERE.. and a plastic pot HERE…

And a few more ways to spruce up old pots from pinterest.

The dipped look is hot for furniture, clothing, and pots!



Chalkboard paint pots


Mod Podge and pretty fabric to transform a plain terra cotta pot


12 rooms | 12 months

July 30, 2012

I started talking about our 12 rooms in 12 months here and all the changes we’ve done in our living room..and never really finished. We’ve been busy enjoying our summer! If you were to ask what we did last summer, my first and only response would be sweating our butts off removing wallpaper…and then patching holes, priming, and painting – so we wanted to make a point to take advantage of the {very hot} lazy summer months.

But,  In case you are still interested, let me take you through a few more rooms in the house!

The is the room we refer to as the “Blue Room” It’s our downstairs guest bedroom near the back of the house.

We really didn’t have to do too much in this room, it was painted white, has 2 closets, lots of windows and lots of space!

We have some major plans for this room in the near future. Right now it’s set up as a guest room and Nicks changing room. We’re in the process of adding lots of closet space upstairs so this closet will go away …literally…We’re tearing it out and expanding the shower in the ajoining bathroom into the closet space. My younger sister is moving in with us for a semester while in school so my hope is to get this project in the works so she can have her own bed bath combo. We haven’t told her yet that her rent is a new bathroom 😉

See that little wooden weenie in the picture below holding the belts, I consider that a bonus to our house – already in the closet and what a cutie!

I was nervous painting a big room such a dark color but we ended up LOVING the color – Behr Starless Night. It’s one of my favorite rooms in the house.

We added white trim around all the windows and door and will eventually need to touch up all the paint on the baseboards and around the windows.

Read all about how we updated this writer’s desk HERE

And how we updated an old dresser HERE...

We added some shelves and some free DIY art to the wall…

To fall inline with my rule that everything should have meaning, I wanted to add a touch of history, and this amazing photo of Nicks Grandpa from High School does just the trick. Can you tell which one he is?

Maybe I’m crazy like the mom that thinks her baby looks just like the Gerber Baby,  but I think they look so much a like!

Psst! A few of my Pinspirations for the Blue Room..



I love the look of navy furniture on navy walls…new end tables someday?


See that coral in our room in the photos above…I think it needs a POP of color

Thanks for stopping by the Blue Room – Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Let The Games Begin

July 27, 2012

It’s official…I’ve caught the Olympic Bug and I CAN. NOT. WAIT. for the games to begin!



I’m not a huge TV watcher but during the Olympics, Summer or Winter – I am glued to the set completely caught up in the excitement. Swimming, Track, Gymnastics- love it all!

I was that girl jumping up and down on my couch screaming for Michael Phelps and crying with Shawn Johnson on the podium – and it’s been that way since I can remember sticking my landing a la Kerri Strug off my monkey bars in the backyard. It’s been an obsession with my sisters and I growing up – is it just a girl thing?

C’mon who didn’t want to be an olympic gymnast for halloween…at the age of 22. Handmade costumes with scrunchies, leotards, hair glitter, matching warm-up hoodies and taped up wrists! (sorry ladies, too cute not to share!)


I’ve thought about throwing a little viewing party…What do you think?

{images via}

GAP has a whole line of vintage Olympic Tees to help get you in the spirit…

{image via}

Themed treats seen in an Olympic Children’s Party here…

{all images above via}

Don’t forget about Dessert…

{US Swimmer Ryan Lochte}

Enjoy an Aquatics cake & and a colorful Cheers to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London!

{image via}

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Ps…Check out this cute video of the US Men’s & Women’s Swim Team Singing “Call Me Maybe”

We’re Breaking Rules

July 13, 2012

I subscribe to House Beautiful Magazine purely for visual’s not entirely my style, and almost everything in it is out of my price range…but it’s fun to look at for inspiration. Last months subscription featured “101 Designer Secrets”… basically everything you should and shouldn’t do in your home. Warning, if you are sensitive, love to follow rules, and try to do everything the “right way” you might not want to read this. Your mind will go crazy with everything you need to redo in your home to fall in-line with the “rules”.

Does anyone else read this magazine? These “rules” were helpful, entertaining, interesting, and wrong! Here are a handful of my favorite ones..some I make.. and a lot I break.

# 4. “The Hangup- Where to hang my artwork? I’ve found that 63″ on center above the floor is a perfect viewing height for more pieces”

#5. “When you’re hanging a series of pictures together, keep the gap between them 2″ to 2 1/2″ to really utilize the wall space, and keep a minimum of 9″ between the art and top of sofas and chairs.” [This is a good tip for a gallery wall of photos or mirrors as in the photo below]

#9. “When framing artwork that requires a mat, specify [or DIY] a mat with 8-ply thickness the increased depth of the resulting bevel can make anything look important.”

#13. “A bed should be 23″ off the floor, no higher.”

#17. “Stop at 6 pillows on a bed. 2 extra long pillows, 2 European squares, and if you want, 2 more European squares but those Pekingese-size pillows all over the bed are vulgar. And you have so much to throw on the floor when you get into bed” [See where I talked about my DIY throw pillow projects here]

#19. “Never use a sconce in a bathroom – It will cast unflattering shadows across the face. [That’s why we flipped ours in the “wrong” direction and allows the light to bounce off the ceiling]

#20. Keep a minimum of of 15″ between coffee tables and sofas.” [hmmm.. ours is kept at an exact distance of, how far away is my plate on the table so i can still shovel food in my mouth while watching the Bachelor]

#23. When it comes to bookcases, stick to books. Nothing is more visually chaotic than 46 shelves of random stuff.” [I beg to differ on this one]

#29. Dining room chandeliers should hang 60″ – 66″ above the floor.” [Eh, who measures, if you don’t hit your head on it, then your good!]


#47. “Don’t ever put a round dining table in a long, skinny rectangular room, and vise versa – never a rectangular dining table in a square room. Just don’t.”

#49. “My favorite trick is to paint the interior of an ordinary black paper lampshade either shocking pink or red, so that it acts like a vermillion lining in an overcoat. It instantly makes the light rosy and glowing.” [<< I want to try this!]

#54. “Once you’ve used a fabric in a room, never use it anywhere else in the house. Do not match your fabrics! Do not let your fabrics make your room look too decorator-y.”



“Do I love it, does it enhance my life, and can I live without it?”<< I love that – Definitely something I’m going to try and say over and over!

#56. “It is my firm belief that upper cabinets are just not useful and actually impede the easy use of a kitchen. I therefore strongly advocate replacing them with simple open shelving.”

{image via}

#80: “Rugs: The bigger the better. Nothing shrinks a room faster than a tiny postage stamp at the seating area. Best rule of thumb: Keep 12″ of wood showing around the perimeter.” [TIP >> Sew 3 woven rugs to create a giant area rug!]


#84: “A dining room rug should extend a minimum of 3′ from the edge of a dining table – dining chairs should always be fully on the rug – nto two legs on and two off.”


#89: “Use wall paper in unexpected places: on the ceiling in a paneled room, in closets, hallways, and small foyers. A great pattern or texture in small spaces can be a prodigious twist!” [A few amazing wallpaper accents below]





#94: “When doing curtains or shades, take them all the way up to the ceiling – It will increase the height of the room.”



#101: Hang curtains. They make a room seem finished. Think of them as the lipstick of decorating. [Check out my DIY striped curtains here]

I could go on and on with more “rules”, but what about you. What are your favorite decorating rules to make or break?

Happy Friday, Friends – Have a great weekend.


Our Happy Place

June 27, 2012

Exactly a 1.5 mile run there…and 1.5 back…a beautiful “secret” beach on Lake Michigan is our new favorite place…all three of us. It’s known as the “dog beach” in our neighborhood and we can’t get enough of it. We shared our secret last weekend with Nick’s family..figuring what a puppy loves…two toddlers would love as well…

Welcome to our happy place 🙂

A few years back, at one of my college apartments, the neighborhood Whole Foods was my happy place. The food looked and smelled so fresh, the colors bright, the music was charming and the workers are always so delightful.

What about you? Is your happy place a grocery store or the waves crashing and the sand between your toes..or in our nephews case…in your hair, ears, mouth, nose, and buns 😉 I wish everyone a Wednesday full of Happy 🙂

– Katie

Tropics in the Bay

June 19, 2012

Did you notice our new tropical additional to the living room?

This green leafed beauty has become my personal keep it alive. It’s like the kid that’s allergic to everything and should be kept in a bubble. EVERYONE that comes over says, “Nice palm..good luck!”.. Apparently these little guys are tough to keep alive, but excuse me…do you know who I am..ahem I did work at Stein Garden & Gifts for two summer, thank you!

The plant was a $20 Home Depot sale purchase and I LOVE what it adds to the room. Sometimes when we’re having people over for dinner on the patio we bring it outside making the backyard a little tropical oasis. We’re going 3 weeks strong and I’m not giving up!

A bit freaked out, and wanting to prove everyone wrong, I did a little research to keep this buddy alive – my pride is at stake here people. Here’s what I learned:

This plant is a DIVA  –  the Mariah Carey of houseplants

– Add sand to the soil (duh!) Never crossed my mind, but it makes sense, these are sandy tropical trees

– Bright indirect light (we have the perfect place between two windows, it gets light all day

– Prefers humid climates so a daily misting is a good idea..(like I said, a diva)

– A good idea to water and mist your palm with filtered water…they really want rain water so the next best thing to filtered water …welp sorry palm but I’m not about to pour a Dasani into your soil every morning…so we use our dehumidifier water which is purified. Instead of emptying the full tank down the sink, use it to water your plants or your animals, it’s actually cleaner water than out of your tap.

DIY idea…spray paint your pot. I was looking everywhere for an aqua colored planter, but no such luck. The only colored ones I liked were ceramic and mega buck$. So I found a nice $15 plastic one from Menards with a shape I liked, and then found this..

…this magic spray can change any ugly plastic into whatever color you choose . I know there’s also special spray paint that is made for plastic – eliminating the need for this primer, but the colors are more limited. After a light coats of primer, (i forgot to snap a before pic, the pot was a dark tan color)  the planter was ready for color.

I chose an aqua color from Krylon called Catalina Mist. It was almost an exactly match to the teal color in our curtains and the color in our built-ins.

I love the color it adds to a very blah corner of the room.

Wish me luck, I know the winter will be tough.

Considering this is what my “normal” looks like many months of the year…

A little of  “this” wouldn’t be so bad…

ok so it’s not quite like that, but with a tropical drink in my hand, and my heat turned up, a girl can dream.

What about you? Is there anything plastic & ugly (plugly?) that could use a little facelift? Give it a try!

12 rooms | 12 months

June 18, 2012

In case you missed it here…I talked all about how our Litte Ivy home was meant to be! It’s officially been a year and were takin’ a tour. I’ve said it before…we’re always happy to have visitors…but be warned..we’ve been known to put our guests to work and repay them in a cold beverage or a treat from the DQ down the street….(maybe that explains my 1 year weight gain?)

Here’s to 12 rooms in 12 months…Welcome to our (constantly) in-progress home.

Let’s start with the LIVING ROOM…the room we spend the most time in…and actually the room that we’ve had to do the least amount of work in…woot woot! This is literally the only room that all we had to do was paint and decorate..EASY!

Here is what the room looked like when we walked through the house.

{images via}

And my original Inspiration board

A few things have stayed the same..and a few things have changed.

Here are a few projects we worked on for the living room.

DIY (free!) Coasters

DIY Pottery Barn Inspired Sofa Table

Fireplace progress…

Aqua paint added to the insides of the built-in’s to break up the neutral tan of the walls..

And here is what the Living Room looks like today…

Our DIY sofa table…

There really is an art to built-in styling…I clearly haven’t mastered it, but working on it. We don’t have enough books to fill up the space, and I’m constantly adding to the shelves, and then realizing how cluttered it looks, and taking away. I recently got really into old camera collections, so for my birthday my parents went around to different antique stores, ebay, and thrift stores and come up with an amazing collection of all different antique cameras from all different eras that I proudly display on the shelves. I know there are a lot of “rules” but I think as long as it has meaning to you, why not!

We bought the curtains that you see on the right, above, from World Market. Put them up, and I just didn’t love them. I love the colors and the pattern, but there was something about them I wasn’t digging. It was the way they were attached to the rod, they weren’t grommets and they didn’t have rings, so they looked a little old fashioned in that room. I ordered a pack of 15 ring clips from Amazon for about $7 and that was the solution. An easy and cheap way to modernize any curtains!

Still in need of more wall pieces, I’m not nuts about the frames we have above the couch, but are fine for now. We’ve got other fish to fry right now 😉 It needs a little more love and a little more “us” style.

What about you? What is your go to Living Room style?

Happy 1 Year.

June 5, 2012

We can’t believe it, but it’s been exactly one year since we moved into our house and what an exciting year it’s been. I am SO glad we aren’t spending the summer scraping wall paper and painting trim. Dare I say that we might actually be able to enjoy this summer?!

I’ve never really talked about it, so I thought I would share our home buying experience.

About  a year before we decided to start house hunting (so about two years ago) we were heading to the mall in the area, have some friends that live on the street that we now live on, so naturally we stalked drove by their house. On the way we saw an adorable brick English Cottage, covered in green ivy, filled with rose bushes and tulips. It was not for sale at the time, but we both made comments that we would love to live in a quaint house like that, and absolutely LOVED the area that it was in. I remember saying to Nick ” look at that adorable house, wouldn’t it be lovely to live there ” (ok so maybe I didn’t use the word lovely..) and went on to talk about that exact house, that was not for sale…for a few minutes. Yeah it gives me goosebumps too – seriously how weird is that…meant to be?!

That house set the standard; we wanted a brick house with lots of greenery in Whitefish Bay. For a while into our hunt it was the same old’ same old’ houses that just weren’t quite right. We walked through lots, but just didn’t get that “feeling” that everyone talked about. All the houses we looked at were fixer-uppers, which is what we wanted for a first house, we knew it was a good investment in this area, but none of them gave us that good feeling.

And then…this quaint little ivy house came on the market – I noticed it online right away. “Nick, is this the adorable house we drive by last summer” And it was for sale! It was priced out of our max price range, but worth a shot. It’s a buyers market, right? I called our realtor right away and walked through the house two days later.

How do you know when it’s the right house? That’s what I asked everyone that already owned a home, and they all said, you will just know. After walking through the house, I had a dream about us living in it that night and knew it was “the one.”

I took Nick through it a few days later, and we put in an offer that night. The offer was accepted and we closed a few months later. We actually had a very seamless buying process!

For the past 12 months, we’ve done LOTS to the house..and plan on doing lots more!

Since it’s been a while…let’s do a “12 rooms | 12 months” tour, shall we?