New Home Tour: Jason’s Studio

03/28/2013

Welcome to Jason’s office, music room and home studio.

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Disclaimer: I try to avoid touching anything in this room so this is completely AS-IS not staged while Jason was out on the tour.

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We both love this picture of Alianna on her adoption day.

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The portrait above is Jason’s great-grandfather Carl. We just called him “Grandpa Carl” for short. We love this photo of him. You can read more about him here.

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This closet is actually a recording booth with an angled wall. It has it’s own air intake, fan, light and solid door. The ceiling in this room is also sloped/vaulted like most of the other rooms in our house. All of those angles have something to do with listening to and/or recording music. Jason’s considering putting a cushion above the recording booth and making a little loft hangout.

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FYI, our architect is Ryan Thewes.

Related Posts:

New Home Tour: Kitchen

New Home Tour: Living Room

New Home Tour: Dining Room

New Home Tour: Den/Playroom

New Home Tour: Nursery (Alianna’s Room)

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids

New Home Tour: Master Bathroom

New Home Tour: Hall Bathroom

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New Home Tour: Hall Bathroom

03/21/2013

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This is the only room in the house without any windows (aside from closets) making it an excellent safe room for tornado warnings. It also makes it harder to photograph. I was using a wide angle lens that I think it not very good quality…or else I just don’t know how to use it very well. Anyhow, sorry about the poor quality photos. This room needs some art. And a shower curtain. And new towels. It’s not very done. I’m not sure why I’m giving a tour of it at all…

FYI, our architect is Ryan Thewes.

Related Posts:

New Home Tour: Kitchen

New Home Tour: Living Room

New Home Tour: Dining Room

New Home Tour: Den/Playroom

New Home Tour: Nursery (Alianna’s Room)

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids

New Home Tour: Master Bathroom


New Home Tour: Master Bathroom

03/14/2013

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At our last house Jason and I built and tiled a custom 4’x5′ shower with two shower heads for our master bathroom, inspired by the house in Costa Rica we stayed at for my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding. It was huge! Our architect was determined to make sure our new master bathroom was not a downgrade so this one is even bigger. And the best part about it is that we have enough water pressure in this house to use two shower heads at the same time…although the hot water does run out a lot faster. It’s awesome in a private locker room kind of way. I like to joke with Jason that when we’re old we’ll be able to hobble our walkers right in here.

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The pretty orchid was a housewarming gift from the couple across the street.

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I love the natural light that pours into this room and especially the shower. I have bad vision without my glasses on and natural light in the shower helps me see. Notice that no electric lights are turned on in any of these pictures. It’s that bright, even on a cloudy day.

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Sources can be found on this post I did about our master bathroom plan. The only change is the towels and bathmat, which we ended up getting from Target.

FYI, our architect is Ryan Thewes.

Related Posts:

New Home Tour: Kitchen

New Home Tour: Living Room

New Home Tour: Dining Room

New Home Tour: Den/Playroom

New Home Tour: Nursery (Alianna’s Room)

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids


Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids

03/07/2013

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

We really loved our last house but sold it so we’d have room for our family to grow. Specifically, we wanted to have more bedrooms so we could continue to provide a home for children in foster care. At our previous home, I designed a room that could suit one or two kids ages birth to five years old, male or female. It was a big challenge, especially with a small room. This room is targeted toward 2-12 year olds in my mind, though we’re keeping an open mind about ages at this point. It felt much easier this time around, I suppose because we already had the super versatile IKEA KURA bed (which can be flipped over to be a low loft bunk bed) and I’m not set on putting a crib and dresser in here…yet. (We do need to add a dresser ASAP, we found out last week.) Other than the bed and bedding, the woodland creatures curtain was the only other element we started with from the previous house.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I chose the green wall color based on the curtain. Also, green is supposed to be soothing and it’s one of my favorites. I read somewhere that mirrors are good for self esteem for kids. Ali loves looking in the full length mirror in her room so I put one in this room, too. It was less than $10 at Target. See that house reflected in the mirror?

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I found this when we were unpacking. I colored this picture in art class in first or second grade. I pray that our next kids will feel at home in this room and at our home. I added some cuddle buddies to the bed.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I started adding bits and pieces to this room without any kind of theme in mind; just using what we had available. A friend gave us the headphones pillow as a housewarming gift. We had the other 2 pillows already. The rockstar flashcards are the only 4 letters I completed when I started designing the series 4 years ago. Maybe I’ll finish it one day…

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

This old acoustic guitar that was a gift from my parents for my 16th birthday narrowly escaped the trash during the move. (Jason’s guitars are a million times nicer so he doesn’t see this as fit to play. However, I think some tween or teen might love it!) We also have a collection of random, discount pile Hatch Show Print posters that I thought could help fill the walls here.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

There are a few vintage ReAbide items living in here. This Florence side table works for now as a night stand.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

And this Mack arm chair (below). Before we moved in, I ordered a Nashville road map. I thought it might work as a big poster for this room. It’s colorful and free (as an AAA member) and I thought it might be neat for kids to see where our house is in comparison to where they used to live. The rug is from a local IKEA reseller. I think it’s the only thing besides the full length mirror that we purchased for this room.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

I have a pack and play set up in here. I’m hoping it’ll be enough to convince our case worker that we’re equipped to take a child younger than two. Ali still sleeps in her crib and I don’t have much desire to buy and set up a second crib. If we accept a placement of a younger child, we might consider getting another one at that point…or maybe moving her to a big kid bed.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com  Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

The book ledges also came from the previous house. These books (with the exception of Pop Warhol’s Top…which I don’t recommend) these books were are all specifically chosen to be in this room.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

So a really cool thing happened. This room developed a theme without me even realizing it! I suppose it started with the Nashville map, and then the Hatch Show Print posters, and then the guitar. The headphones pillow and the rockstar flashcards followed suit. The theme that developed—which happens to be something that every child who stays in this room, regardless of age or gender will have in common—is Nashville! Music City. Even the woodland curtains and botanical bedding and rug work. We live very close to a huge park so we see squirrels, owls , leaves and lots of trees in our neighborhood.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

It was important to me that I had thoughtful, personal elements worked into the design of this room. I didn’t want it to feel like a guest room. I want it to be a special room because it’s made for a really special kid…a kid we don’t know yet but I want him or her to feel comfortable, loved and wanted from the moment they walk in. I want him or her to know that we’ve been thinking about and praying for him or her before we ever met.

Here’s the floor plan of this room. It’s about 10×12.

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids - myMCMlife.com

If you’re putting together a room for foster kids in your house, here are some things I recommend:

• Flexible sleeping arrangements
We have this room set up with a twin bed and a pack and play. Without much trouble at all we could flip the twin bed into a bunk bed and replace the pack and play with a real crib. Sometimes foster parents put together a really nice room for 5-12 year old kids and then God has a sense of humor and their first placement is a newborn. Flexibility is key for foster parents.

• Adequate Clothing Storage
This is one of our home checklist requirements from DCS. I’m hoping to add a dresser before too long but for now, we have a big closet ready with hangers and hanging storage for smaller items. We also keep extra blankets, pillows and sheets in the closet.

• Books and Toys
Admittedly, we don’t have toys in here but we do have a playroom right down the hall. It’s mainly because of the wide age range this room is open to that I haven’t put many toys in here. The stuffed animals are probably nice for any age kid, though. These books have been carefully selected to be in this room: Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care, I Don’t Have Your Eyes, I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew, The Little Train That Could, The Velveteen Rabbit, and the Sleep Book.

• Nightlight
Some kids won’t want it on but we have it ready just in case. A new room can be scary and dark. The nightlight is enough to make the whole room visible. We also moved Ali’s constellation turtle light in here because she doesn’t use it anymore. It projects stars on the ceiling for 45 minutes before shutting off automatically. We’re also required to have hallways lit and to have flashlights handy. We got this 3-in-1 night light, emergency light (comes on automatically when the power goes out) and flashlight for our first foster parenting experience. It is in our hallway.

• A Place for Photos
The frame on the nightstand that says “Welcome” is actually a placeholder for a personal photo. Thanks for another foster mom’s suggestion, I also added (after taking photos) a bulletin board with pictures of “Who Lives Here” (me, Jason and Ali with names by our photos) and a photo of our first foster placement with her name and hand print. I will add a photo of each new child under either category.

• Curtains without strings or cords
Another requirement for our home safety checklist—not that we have a curtain but that there are no choking hazards dangling from blinds or curtains.

• Rugs secured to the floor
Yeah, I actually stuck this rug to the floor with rug tape. Another item on our home safety checklist.

• Smoke detector
Our list doesn’t require it to be in the child’s bedroom but there is one in there per codes for a new house build.

• Egress window
Also per codes, in order to be considered a bedroom, a room must have a window that can be opened for escape in case of a fire. Our home safety checklist also requires this.


New Home Tour: Nursery (Alianna’s Room)

03/05/2013

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This is the only room of the house that I couldn’t photograph during Ali’s nap so she’s demonstrating how she uses her room. She loves her pushing buttons on her CD player and yanking the pillow and blankets (for Mama’s comfort) off of her rocking chair so she can climb up in it to look at her books.

Here’s a floor plan in case anyone likes them as much as me. Her room is about 10×11 ft not including the doorway.

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About this room.

I fell in love with colored cribs when I was planning a nursery the first time around. This one (SOMNAT) is from IKEA a couple years ago, no longer available.

The pink blanket in her crib was made for her by her Great Aunt Janice. The white Care Bears blanket was her first baby blanket from her birth mom. The stuffed brown spaniel was bought by us for our first baby, before we knew she existed. The white bear was a gift from the magistrate who granted us custody of Ali. The aardvark was a gift from good friends and her birthday buddy Jonas has the same one.

The hand painted name banner above the crib was an adoption gift from a high school youth group friend of ours.

The flower on the wall and the “A” pillow on the rocking chair were adoption gifts from a co-worker. She made the pillow. The green quilt on the rocking chair was made for Ali by her Great Aunt Linda.

The crocheted toy and the two cross-stitch pieces framed on the wall were made by Nana (Jason’s mom). The butterfly wood puzzle above the frame and the owl wall hooks that hold her backpack were gifts from Aunt Jess (my sister) and Uncle Jeff. The monkey poster was a gift from the same friend who gave Ali the aardvark. The heart banner I made for Valentine’s Day and then moved in here because that big white wall was driving me nuts.

The Eames replica rocking chair was from here. (I love it!)

The dresser, night stand (painted by me) and yellow lamp are vintage. It took me months to find a changing table height dresser that was narrow enough to fit in the kids room at our last house. I’d be happy to have a longer one here now.

The curtains are IKEA and were discontinued. I based the whole color palette of her room on them before purchasing so thank God for eBay! They tie together the blue crib and rugs, pink wall and yellow lamp. The book ledges (RIBBA), rugs (TOFTBO) and toy boxes are also from IKEA.

FYI, our architect is Ryan Thewes.

Related Posts:

New Home Tour: Kitchen

New Home Tour: Living Room

New Home Tour: Dining Room

New Home Tour: Den/Playroom


New Home Tour: Dining Room

02/25/2013

Our dining room is sunny, shiny and functional. It’s pretty minimalist for now, which helps with keeping it clean when you have a 19 month old. It overlooks our courtyard and natural light pours in all day long.

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I’m very happy with our impulsive decision to get the big version of the IKEA MASKROS light for this room.

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Besides the planet-size chandelier, the biggest statement of the dining room is the exposed concrete block wall that runs along the face of most of our house, including the courtyard.

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This room gets some pretty amazing sunlight. Lunch time is particularly nice.

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It may not look like it since it’s all sparkly clean for these photos, but we’re one of those weird families that all sits down together to eat here every evening. We hold hands and thank God for the food and then we all sit together until everyone is finished. Strange, huh? I love having six chairs even though we only use 2 plus a high chair most days – it feels like we’re always ready for more.

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In a dream world, I’d add a rug under this table but with the amount of food that ends up under the high chair, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. A tarp maybe, but not a rug! This sweet puppy helps a lot with food clean up but she’s a picky eater. Lucy won’t eat any vegetables except raw onions, very little fruit and no seafood.

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This big blank wall is just begging for art. I know what I want to put here but it’s not going to be cheap to get a giant canvas or poster made. So we wait. Good thing we like white walls. We’d also like put a credenza or hutch against that wall.

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FYI, our architect is Ryan Thewes.

Related Posts:

New Home Tour: Kitchen

New Home Tour: Living Room


New Home Tour: Living Room

02/21/2013

My other favorite room in our house is the the living room. It’s the perfect spot for my morning quiet time, for playing together as a family, for an afternoon cup of tea while the toddler naps, for chatting with visitors, for a late night crackling fire in the fireplace.

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Eventually we’re going to get a big soft rug and a sofa that better fits the space. I love these birds and how the sunlight moves across the blue wall like geometric clouds.

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I absolutely love the clerestory windows and the light shelf below them. We have strings of LED lights up there for a soft glow in the evening.

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That’s a pocket door that leads into hides my work room (office, laundry, crafts). I always wanted a pocket door.

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We’re still deciding on some large scale art for that big white wall on the right.

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In the summer the foliage in the backyard is so thick we can hardly see our neighbor’s house. In the winter, Ms. Dawn gets to watch us having dance parties in our living room while she stands at her kitchen sink. We don’t mind.

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We only keep a few toys in the living room since we have a den/playroom and Ali has a bedroom for her belongings. It’s nice to have a few smaller toys for her out here, though.

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I put this flow chart where I’d walk past it every morning on the way to work.

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I found this in Jason’s grandma’s basement a couple years ago.

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We wanted to keep the living room separated from the kitchen and dining room but still feel like one big open great room. This floating wall was the perfect solution for us.

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Yes, we scarred our beautiful fireplace with the dreaded big black box. Let’s face it…we use it more than the fireplace even though we’re really not much of TV watchers. Ali sometimes watches 1 or 2 shows a day on Netflix, like Dora the Explorer, Yo Gabba Gabba or Seseme Street. It’s a nice down time for all of us and some days is the only way I can get dinner made or laundry folded.

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Thanks for stopping by!

FYI, our architect is Ryan Thewes.

Related Post: New Home Tour: Kitchen


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