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our renovation

how to install patio string lights
our renovation, outdoor

dreamy patio lights

You want that cozy patio with string lights but you don’t have a structure to attach them to? Well, you’re in the right spot! As you’ll see in the first photos, our home has a large patio and there was no way to triangulate string lights across them.
how to install patio string lights

We had to think outside the box… First we did something totally stupid. We thought inside a pot.  We filled some measly patio pots with cement, or is it concrete?, and put some poles inside. They toppled over with the slightest breeze.  Oh and the glass bulbs left shrapnel everywhere. Don’t do this!!! It is more expensive and time consuming than what will actually work.

how to install patio string lights

Next plan, bury them. Burything things is always a better solution.

What you’ll need:
8′ lengths of 1.5″ full round pine moulding – use 1 piece for every 10 feet of lights you’ll hang
PVC 1.5″ inside diameter
Steel hooks
String lights!

Here’s what to do…
• Stain or seal your pine rods (we used this)
• Install your steel hook at the top of each rod
• Cut PVC into 8” length pieces
• Pound PVC pieces into ground where you’ll want your poles to be, use a piece of 2×4 on top of the pvc so you aren’t hitting the plastic directly with the hammer
• Every few inches pull the pvc out to get the dirt out
• You’ll want the PVC pieces flush to the ground or a bit below the surface
• Install the pine rod into the 8″ deep PVC
TIP: you may have to sand to shave off a bit of the pine to get them into the pvc but is should be snug and you might have to pound them in some
• Now you should have poles that are close to 7’-4” so even with the the drop of the light cords the lights are similar to the height of a door opening
• We installed an outdoor outlet in a soffit and a steel hook in the fascia
• Next you’ll wrap your string lights around the hook (see photo below)

E N J O Y!!!

how to install patio string lights
how to install patio string lights
how to install patio string lights
how to install patio string lights
how to install patio string lights

Our patio furniture:
West Elm sectional
At Home pots, rug & round table
CB2 Acapulco chairs
Wayfair Cantilever Umbrella

our renovation

Sunroom Bar

Let me just start this post by saying this room is completely unnecessary and an extravagance.  If we were building, this space would be unnecessary UNLESS we had an amazing pool… but we don’t.

The blueprints show that this room was originally an outdoor space, screened in porch situation.  In 1975, they converted it into an all season sunroom, built the bar with a pool table.  You’ll see in the original photos that the walls matched the exterior facade.

In any event, it is a space that will get used.  The bar area will come in handy the day we gut the kitchen and need a mini-kitchen situation… and this is the ONLY reason we included an 18″ dishwasher in the renovation.  Again, this isn’t a necessary appliance with the actual full kitchen 30 feet away.

No real drama during this renovation other than the amount of time it took us to complete.  As you know, this is a large house that literally everything needs some updating and this room has not been much of a priority.

It is a space for games of Monopoly, puzzles, snacks, soaking up vitamin D and morning phone calls.


OK… must show the befores:

Wait for it…





Sources (amazon links are affiliate links)

Cabinet Door: Semihandmade in Tahoe
Wall Tile: Discount Glass Tile Store
Countertops: Caesarstone Quartz Frozen Terra
Countertop Fabricator: Cameo Toledo, Ohio
Pendants: similar / similar
Sconce: Cedar & Moss sconce
Faucet: Delta Trinsic Bar/Prep Faucet
Cabinet Pulls: 5 pack / 10 pack
Cabinet Knobs: 10 pack
Bar Stools: CB2
Floating Shelves: DIY
Sofa, chairs, tulip table, coffee table: Vintage

our renovation

we broke a mcm elitist rule…

We painted our fireplace.  Our mid mod elitist card was immediately revoked and we have been hanging out heads in shame ever since.  I kid.  I don’t give a shit… it’s my fireplace.  Now having said that, karma bit us in the ass and I am not 100% pleased with the final result.  Drama unfolds below 😉

paint mid century modern fireplace white mcm brick

OK so… here is what we were originally working with:

paint mid century modern fireplace white mcm brick

The fact of the matter is we would never choose to have a big brown brick wall in the middle of our house.  This room isn’t exceedingly bright as it is so having all the light absorbed rather than reflected isn’t helping.  The hearth needed replacing (more on that in a moment) and having a bright white, fresh brick as the background for those original brass fish hanging I knew we just had to do it.

First thing was removing the hearth.  It had this sort of faux paint finish to it but it wasn’t painted and was busted enough that I knew we had to install something new.  We went to a local stone supplier who, allegedly, specializes in hearths.  I chose a lovely grey limestone from the samples they had available and kept the cut simple with just clean edges, a choice that seemed to baffle the sales person we spoke to.  It would take a few days to be made so it was a weekend task to paint the brick!

kids were into it… haha! paint mid century modern fireplace white mcm brick

Ok so hearth is off… now what?

Step 1: CLEAN.  We cleaned the dingy brick with wire brush to start since it likely hadn’t been cleaned in a decade then with vinegar and hot water.

Step 2: PRIME.  Is there a choice other than Kilz for a primer?  The one we chose said masonry on it, bingo!  I could be mistaken but I believe we did 2 coats of the primer just for good measure.

Step 3: PAINT.  Home Depot had a Behr Masonry, Stucco & Brick paint that wasn’t the cheapest but moderately priced so it seemed like a good bet.

Paint DONE… I had to hang our fish up to see how it looked.  Damn!  Lovin’ it… I couldn’t wait for the stone yard to call us.


The day we got the call the hearth was ready for pickup was a rainy day.  It was shitty enough outside that I stayed home with the kiddos.

A day that will go down in history as a regrettable choice.

Is the drama coming through?!

Phil brought the pieces inside and my heart sank.  They were wet and dirty with odd markings on them… It was left outside for a couple days in the dusty, muddy stone yard and it looked as though my lovely limestone soaked up every ounce of dirt.  I put the fans on them for a few days and got so discouraged while they laid out waiting to dry.  We feared installing them before they totally dried out,  adding more moisture to them with the mortar.  Two weeks later Phil went to install them and noticed that he had measured incorrectly and once piece on the end was a few inches to short.


A couple hundred dollars into the fire and a new piece was cut.  Luckily, they assured us the new piece would be cut from the same slab as the others.

The day we picked up the new piece of stone not only was it sunny BUT the piece of stone was INSIDE their warehouse upon pickup.

It was brought inside and I became livid.  The new, replacement piece, was exactly what I thought I had ordered.  We went back and forth with the stone company for months.  Each time we were told they would eventually match.  Give it time to dry out.  This was in April 2018 and as of April 2019 the 3 original pieces still look dingy and the marks from the spacers still show.

So this makeover doesn’t have a happy ending.  Sometimes shit happens and you have to cut your losses.  In the end it is likely a detail that only I will notice… and any OCD friend I point it out to.  It also looks remarkably better than what we started with!  Am I right?!  You can tell from this photo, the piece on the far right is a couple shades lighter and the spacer marks are still evident in that middle piece.

paint mid century modern fireplace white mcm brick
paint mid century modern fireplace white mcm brick paint mid century modern fireplace white mcm brick paint mid century modern fireplace white mcm brick

products we used:
Wire brush
KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer, White, 5 gallon
Crystal White Flat Masonry, Stucco and Brick Interior/Exterior Paint

our renovation

entry way completed

Our entryway might be one of my favorite rooms in the house! Is it a room? Do we call the entryway a room? It is definitely more than a hallway.

One of the favorite features is that wood paneling wall which is original to the home, as is the flooring and doors.  Basically everything is other than the dark grey wall.

Off of the entry way is the room where I meet with my photography and marketing clients.  For this reason, having a space where people could hang their belongings or set their bags down, was crucial.  We do have ample closet space around the corner, but we have limits on to the spaces that I take clients… and that hallway is one of them!   Three hang-it all (knockoffs) make a fun, low budget, impact on this wall!

Originally, I had thought we would construct a built in planter along the wall where the bench sits now.  Many of the homes we looked at while house hunting had those fantastic built in planters lined with snake plants.  Alas, the tall planter from West Elm is what we purchased.  Basically everything in this space was on a budget… as I’ve said before, nearly gutting a home of this size means that we have had to make a big impact with as little hit to the wallet as possible.  Links to everything below!

The biggest change we made the space was adding a skylight… it lets in the perfect amount of light!


hang-it all
console similar
planter similar
rug similar
umbrella holder similar
pendant light similar

our boys, our renovation

boys room

While we do have four bedrooms, we have always wanted the boys to share a bedroom.  This is something we may revisit when they are a bit older but as it stands now, they are sharing a room.  Now having said that, it is rare that they both stay in their own beds through the night so it doesn’t much help in the keep each other company aspect.  In the end, a king bed is really for two adults and two kids, right?!  Is my sarcasm coming through?

Here is a look back on the initial design for the boys rooms… and as you’ll see, we didn’t much deviate from that.  I’m a big proponent for investing in quality pieces from when they are born so you can’t years of use out of them.  I am happy to say, that the only Ikea thing in their bedroom is the Ribba picture frame.

Broyhill Vintage Beds similar
Buzz Aldrin Poster
Chrome Pendant
Yellow Lamp
Moon Nightlight
Flannel Bedding
Acrylic Bookshelf

mid century modern buffet dining room
our renovation

buffet makeover

Why hello there ole blog that I’ve done nothing with for 3 years!  To say that renovating a 4,000 sqft house which we are mostly DIY renovating, oh, while also having busy careers and two, even busier, little boys has been overwhelming is quite the understatement.

So here we are, with a handful of projects completed, and I’m going to start sharing more specifics on this blog… mostly because it will be more efficient than answer Instagram DMs.

On to the buffet makeover…

This mother fucking buffet was the bane of my existence for that first month or two of renos.   I have to laugh because I am a working professional photographer YET I did NOT do proper before photos and mostly documented via my iPhone. Aren’t I relatable?!

This buffet is one of the most used, favorite features in our homes.  Birthdays, holidays, get togethers

Our seller sent us these photos of what the buffet looked like when they bought the house in 1986:

Nice huh?

Welp… when we saw the house the buffet has a faux finish marble top with glass on top.  The original walnut veneer had been painted on and the original surface of the buffet was the same 1×2″ tile that still exists in the entry way and in front of the buffet, which we LOVE and is STILL available today.

We spent way too many hours and breathed in too many fumes stripping the buffet in the dining room… a lot of beer was consumed during this phase.

mid century modern buffet makeover oh mid mod
mid century modern buffet makeover oh mid mod
mid century modern buffet makeover oh mid mod
mid century modern buffet makeover oh mid mod

The light at the end of the tunnel was when we full stripped and stained all the veneer bringing it back to its original glory…

mid century modern buffet dining room mid century modern buffet dining room

Then the fun part!  The counter and new knobs!  We chose a solid surface counter for the buffet mainly because of the affordability of it.  Spoiler alert: renovating the entirety of a 4k sqft home is not cheap!  Details on counter below.  We love this feature in the dining room, especially for holidays and parties.

mid century modern buffet dining room mid century modern buffet dining room mid century modern buffet dining room

paint stripping gel
stain on cabinets
countertop install by Cutting Edge Countertops Perrysburg, Ohio

our boys, our renovation

boys get spacey

If I could design kids rooms full time, I would love it.  They are so much fun to put together.  For the boys room at our old house (take a peek here & here) I used a lot of pieces that I knew would grow with them or that we would be able to utilize in other parts of our house.  When moving in to Oh Mid Mod we decided that the rooms were plenty large enough for the boys to share and the other bedroom could be used at their playroom, which I cannot wait to do!  Locke is pretty obsessed with all things space right now.  Let him tell you about the 5 dwarf planets and how he would like to build robots that walk on Mars when he grows up… That Montessori education 😉  We are putting the finishing touches on everything right now then I will take photos of the finished room which MAY end up being the first room 100% finished in the house, ha!  They deserve it.

mid century modern boys kids room space theme


Broyhill Vintage Bed (similar, new)

Buzz Aldrin Poster

Chrome Pendant

Striped Rug

Blue Nightstand

Yellow Lamp

True Modern Lime Dress (possibly discontinued)

Red Eames-Style rocking chair

Yellow Rug

Solar System Print

Moon Nightlight



befores, our renovation

buffet makeover in progress

The 80s made people do questionable things… the faux marble finish on the 13 foot buffet cabinet in our dining room has been one of the biggest projects.  Our lovely seller, Jill, told us (thankfully!) that underneath the faux marble, that she had commissioned a local artist to do, there was a lovely warm wood and the top was the 1×3 tile that matched our entry.  I spent many hours stripping both sides of this 13 foot buffet with an eco friendly paint stripper.  Pulled the top off only to see that the 80s top was glued down to the lovely tile.  We were able to salvage a lot of the tile which came in handy when we repaired the entry way which had some broken pieces (and needed re-grouting).  We sanded & stained.  I have lovely pulls on their way and acrylic solid surface counters being installed soon!

Here is our work in progress… Final transformation in a couple weeks!

mid century modern buffet makeover oh mid mod
mid century modern buffet makeover oh mid mod
mid century modern buffet makeover oh mid mod
mid century modern buffet makeover oh mid mod

befores, office, our renovation

office space before

We have officially closed & have a bit of a game plan for renovations.  First up, my office!  Two areas of the house I will be using for my business to eliminate the studio I am renting downtown.  It’s a bit bittersweet to lose the lofty space downtown, but it will be a great lifestyle improvement and much less stressful for clients to just park at our home, rather than scouring downtown for a meter.  There is wood panelling on the ceiling, wall, exposed brick, a red wall and an orange wall.  The room was an addition for a mother in law suite, so there is also a full bath.  We are demolishing the full bath which is almost 100 sqft and connected that space along with the large hall closet for added storage.  Here are a few photos of the space right before we pulled up flooring.  Can’t wait to knock down some walls and make this space more open!!







Didn’t take long to rip up tiles, carpet & tack strips!  All original and high quality… and the plywood subfloor is actually really nice!  Don’t make them like this anymore, folks!


our renovation

waiting to close…

After renovating our 50s ranch for the past 9 years, we sold it. Fast.  And for a decent price.  Hurray for market shift!  Now we are waiting on closing on a huge 1962 mid century ranch… that needs work.  Something I said I didn’t want to do again.   we ‘lost’ a quad level house that was perfectly renovated/updating keeping original MCM finishes in tact.  I shouldn’t even mention it… The house we DID get, well, it is in my dream neighborhood, quiet, centrally located and the hood is FULL of custom mid century modern homes.  I just may start jogging again just for the eye candy!  We will be renovating again… with two kids… and the house is 2.5x larger than the one we are moving out of.  Raise your hand if you are already overwhelmed!

I will be blogging the process.  And as soon as we take possession, the before photos will be shared!

Here goes nothing.

Exterior… pink doors will likely be painted a blue hue.


While the inspector, inspected, I did selfies in the half bath that is wall to ceiling orange toucan wallpaper.  It is amazing.  And it is staying.  Half bath needs a new toilet & light fixture…