Hundley Adoption Update


It’s time for an update on our friends Jeremy and Leila’s adoption story. Straight from Jeremy’s facebook wall on Wednesday:

“Hundley Adoption Update: Leila attended the doctor visit with the birthmother on Monday. They did an ultrasound and we got to see his face! He’s nearly 8 lbs and though a bit crowded in there, looks good. This time next week we’ll be at the hospital. WOW. On the funding side, we are at 83% of our goal! If you want to help with our final “push,” please post, tweet, or email the link to our blog: A massive THANK YOU to everyone involved. Just amazing.”

Baby boy, whom they’re planning to name Jaron Isaac, is due today! I can’t wait to meet him and see this sweet couple become parents. They’re going to make a wonderful family. Two Saturdays ago we threw a big baby shower for them at their new home. Apparently I wasn’t very strategic about my photos. I don’t have one of Leila and I have to skip all the ones that have Precious in them. Here are a few pictures from before the party started:

The party theme was “Rock Your Diaper Off!” since we were urging people to bring diapers along with or instead of a traditional gift. There was all kind of yummy food including an ice cream sundae bar, guitar cake, drum cupcakes, punch, cheese, dips, quiches, etc.

I’m hoping Leila’s sister-in-law Mikala got better pictures than me.

That’s my niece Eliza, Leila’s brother Nate and my sister-in-law Ginger.

We had a station set up where kids could decorate bibs and burp cloths with fabric markers. Max did a great job and got some help from his dad Grant.

Jeremy getting lots of practice with Eliza. Baby E loves that plastic chicken. It’s so cute.

We also had a picture matte for people to sign as a guest book and a box of thank you card for guests to write their addresses on the envelopes. After the gifts were opened we had a relay race outside that included setting up an unfamiliar stroller, strapping in a pumpkin, racing around cones, strapping the pumpkin into a car seat, running with it while picking up toys, etc. It was a hoot. I don’t have any pictures because I was in it. Jason and I competed against Leila and Jeremy and friends Grant and Brooke. Leila and Jeremy won. It was a very fun afternoon and this couple is now LOADED with baby stuff. I’m pretty sure they have about 4x as much baby gear as we do and we have enough.

I can’t wait to meet baby Jaron later this week. Yay!

Update: whoops! It’s 5:30 pm and I just realized I never hit Publish on this post! Sorry it’s late. 

CBB 3.0 – Update: FINISHED!


The last month and a half of construction on our friends’ home build was such a flurry of progress that I didn’t get any pictorial updates in the middle of it. I did, however, insist that they give me 5 minutes to take these photos on the morning of moving day before we started dropping boxes and clothes everywhere.

The stairway up from the garage:

The dining area, with huge windows overlooking the woods of Shelby Park:

The kitchen:

This doorway between the kitchen and dining area leads into the living room:

Straight on is the coat closet at the top of the steps coming up from the garage. Pantry on the right:

A tile backsplash was put in a few days after these photos were taken:

Front door entryway (which probably won’t get used much):

Living room:

Guest room:

Hall bathroom. I love having natural light in the shower:

Hallway looking back toward the living room, dining room and kitchen:

Laundry room:


Master bedroom:

Master bathroom:

Through the master bathroom to get to the huge closet. The floors in the bathrooms and this closet are heated, stained concrete:

Hall closet:

Bonus room that will become an office and music room:

Jeremy took this picture of the back of the house the day they got the keys:

Jason has been helping them with their landscaping the past couple weeks:

Moving Day was bittersweet. We worked hard and I didn’t get a lot of time to reflect on it with Leila and Jeremy but for me, memories of May 1, 2010 kept flooding back to me. (Pun intentional.) Their new home is wonderful and beautiful and shiny. It’s HOME. After living out of suitcases, moving from borrowed space to borrowed space for the past 13 months, they’re finally home.. That part of it is wonderful.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how different this was than a traditional move. Nothing was packed and organized like it should have been. Clothes and computers were at Leila’s brother’s house and were moved in piles, shopping bags and suitcases. Antique furniture was in another friend’s basement and was muddy with river water, cracked, dirty. Their TV (which survived being half submerged in water) was at another friend’s house. The bulk of it was in a storage warehouse, mostly outdoor tools, Christmas decorations and some clothing. An oil changing pan slipped out of my hand and liquid splashed against the concrete floor. I scrambled to find some paper towels, thinking I’d be soaking up motor oil. It was muddy, putrid river water. At one point, I picked up a box to load into the silver bullet and recognized my own handwriting on it. When I’m packing, I always label boxes as specifically as I can. It said: “Light bulbs, socks, misc.” I remember packing that box. We had been wiping mud off of dishes and glasses all afternoon in the May sunshine and packing them carefully away. There were a lot of random bits and pieces at the end of the day so I did my best to pack and label them. I can’t remember was “misc” was… a battery, a lid, some keys, perhaps. Cleaning off broken belongings, finding things thought to be gone forever, wondering where certain items ended up… the process of unpacking and moving in to this beautiful new house may be harder for our friends than I expected.

A new chapter has started for Leila and J. Thank God they’re not overly sentimental about “stuff.” They lost almost all their material possessions last year but they’ve come out stronger and wiser. I’m excited to see what wonderful things lie ahead for them and I’m proud to call these fighters my friends.

(Picture from my niece’s birth day, February 24.)

CBB 3.0 – Update (Walls, Floors, Paint, Cabinets)


I’ve had a very busy week. My husband is home on a break from traveling so we’ve been in full-force project mode at home. That means I have blog material but no time to blog. 🙂 So this is an update on our friend’s post-flood reconstruction house with photos and lazy captions. Click here to watch a video update from one of our local news channels that aired on the 1 year anniversary of the 2010 Nashville Flood. It recaps Jeremy and Leila’s freshly renovated house being flooded, their rental house getting robbed, the demolition of their flooded house and where they’re at with the construction of their new house. Here are my pictures from a couple weeks ago…

From the dining room, facing the kitchen:

Jason and Jeremy in the living room:

Living room with high sloped ceilings since it’s at the back of the house and paper covering up the finished wood floors:

Hallway from the living room. Master bedroom is at the end to the right. Full bath on the right. Guest room, laundry room and nursery on the left, which is toward the front of the house:

Guest room:


Master bedroom:

Deck off the dining room:

Maggie Moo, the cow-dog:

Bonus room (office):

Bonus room looking toward the kitchen. Lucy inhaled construction dust to the point of vomiting. Fun times:


Dining room shot from the kitchen. (Leila, Jeremy, Jason):

OK, all of those were my pictures. The rest of them are Jeremy’s pictures that I snagged off facebook.

Tile, countertop and vanity consideration for master bathroom:

Wood flooring installation:

Finished wood floors. Solid white oak with a stain mix of 50% jacobean and 50% dark walnut. Semi-gloss oil poly on top:

Full overlay style cabinets in the kitchen, oak with espresso stain:

Granite choice for kitchen countertops, “white sands”:

Radiant heat for concrete bathroom floors:

Master bath vanity in cherry wood with espresso stain, with finished “permacrete” concrete floors:

Same in the hall full bath:

Master bedroom accent wall in a brownish, copper color. (I’m not sure what is going on with the color in this photo. The foreground walls are either white or light gray…not blue. I didn’t take this photo but I think the orange is pretty accurate.):

That’s it for now. As you can tell, it’s very close to completion. Hopefully just another week or two and they’ll be moving in! Which should be pretty easy considering they lost 80-90% of their belongings in the flood… They have a mattress, clothes, dishes and kitchen items that could be salvaged, a few boxes of personal items, and some electronics that either weren’t in the house during the flood, have been recently purchased or survived. (Can you believe their LCD TV was submerged half way in floodwater and still works?!)

CBB 3.0 – Update (Plans)


I’m not sure how well these images will come across at the small size but here are the plans and elevation drawings of the house. 12 o’clock is the back of the house, 6 o’clock is the front. The roof is pitched toward the front of our friends’ house rebuild (CBB 3.0).

I made a quick photoshop mock up of what the house could look like with color and landscaping. I think they’re planning on gray tones of paint and an orange front door so that’s where I started. And I just threw in some broad ideas for landscaping. That’s really Jason’s area of expertise, not mine, and I don’t know if they’re interested in our ideas anyway.

Does anyone else love looking at floor plans? Let me walk you through the floor plan of CBB 3.0. The front door is at the bottom of this image. There are wooden steps coming up to the front door from the right. The door opens to a foyer and leads to a family room. To the right of the family room is a dining room and kitchen, separated by the kitchen peninsula with the sink. Off the dining room is a bonus room, which will be a home office and music room. The right front corner of the house is the stairway that leads up from the garage with a coat closet at the top and an entrance to the kitchen. The left front side of the house is two bedrooms, a laundry room and a full bath. The back left corner of the house is the master suite: bedroom, bathroom and gigantic closet (that I’m jealous of!).

It’s a great house plan and I’m so excited for Jeremy and Leila! It’s also be really fun to watch the progress. It’s coming along quickly. More photo updates coming soon! (Thanks, J&L for letting me share your house progress here.)

CBB 3.0 – Update


From here on out, I’m going to refer to our friend’s house (the one needed painted, then was destroyed by a flood, then knocked down, and now has started to be rebuilt) as CBB 3.0. Why? Because that’s their nickname for their house. They have called their home Camp B_name-of-their-street_ Bottoms since they bought it. The original was version 1.0, completely renovated it into version 2.0 and now they’re building version 3.0. (Search for CBB for anything about this house, CBB 3.0 for the rebuild.)

Jeremy and Leila gave me the OK to share their progress with you. Their new home will be modern with some mid-century influence to fit it with the other 1950’s-1970’s houses in the neighborhood. The biggest challenge has been fitting a design into FEMA’s strict regulations. This had a major influence on the overall design of the house because the foundation had to be raised 4 feet from where it was before but the space below that foundation can not be living space. The solution was to make a garage and storage space under the house … kind of like an above ground basement. Here are some pictures of the recent progress:

The foundation is 2/3 concrete block and 1/3 wood frame.

The large opening is for the garage door at the back of the house.

Flat roof graded toward the front of the house:

The build is moving so quickly, I can’t keep up with pictures. (Hopefully J is OK with me stealing pics off his facebook for now…it’s still dark in evening when I get home from work.) The roof should be complete by the end of this week. Target completion date: 1 year anniversary of the flood, May 1st.

Update on the MCM Post-Flood Rebuild


At the beginning of the year, our friends’ house was torn down. (Remember, it had been destroyed in the May 2010 Nashville Flood after having standing water 4 ft. above the foundation level.) The new house must be built up off the ground and follow all sorts of ridiculous FEMA regulations. Construction started last week:

The house basically has an above-ground unfinished basement. They’re not allowed to use this space for any habitable living space. Half of it is graveled and the other half is paved for a garage and storage area. And possibly a roller rink?

If I can get their permission to do so, I’ll keep you posted with the design and interior development. If not, I’ll just kept tabs on the exterior changes.

(CBB 3.0)

Bringing the House Down


Back in May I wrote about the flood that impacted Nashville and the surrounding Tennessee areas, including our friends and downhill neighbors Leila and Jeremy.

As a reminder, here’s what their house looked like after they purchased it and worked to fully renovate it:

Here’s what the house looked like during the flood:

And here’s the house at almost the peak of flood level. It’s the one on the right. You can see that the water is up to the base of the windows. It eventually made it half way up the window to a level of 4 ft. in the house. The water was too deep (and disgusting) for me to get a picture straight on:

So here we are now, 7-8 months later, and their house is finally being demolished. FEMA regulations required that the house be raised 4ft to be above flood plain. When the costs were evaluated it made the most sense to demo and start over. This process has been long and painful for our friends and it was so good to see tangible forward progress just before New Years.

Demolition was set to begin just around sunrise on a crisp morning:

A quick peak inside before it’s gone; everything of value had been striped out: windows, insulation, wiring, plumbing…

And before the sun was above the tree line, the house was a pile of sticks and bricks:

It turned out to be a bright, beautiful day and brought new meaning to a clean slate for a new year. I’ll do my best to keep you updated on the progress. Soon (once the snow melts…) the foundation will be poured and construction on their new home will begin. I’m hopeful that they’ll be in their new home by the anniversary of the flood.


Nashville Flood – May 2010 – pt 2


As I mentioned, we are so thankful that our house was spared. We live on a hill. Our dear friends and neighbors down the street and around the corner had to watch their house get swallowed by the Cumberland River. These are the same friends that were just trying to decide on a color to paint their house. The friends that stayed with us for months while they were renovating their home from gutted to a liveable beautiful home. It was almost finished. All their hard work for nothing. Our hearts are breaking for them. Much of their belongings will likely be a total loss. Here’s the house before:

Sunday afternoon Leila called and asked if Jason could come down and help her move the cars. I could tell by her tone of voice that we both needed to go and it was urgent. Jason moved a pick up truck out of their driveway minutes after we got there. From their house all the way back to the tree line was water. It was the strangest thing to see. The water was already almost a foot deep in their driveway. Their garage was getting flooded quickly. We had a small window of time (and shallow enough water) to get her scooter and Leila’s brother’s scooter out of the garage and around through the side yard up to the road. It was too late for her husband’s car. (He was out of the country for work.) We cut off the circuit breaker and started stacking power tools up on tables in their garage-level bonus room, rescued her already wet wedding dress and waited around a bit to see how high the water was going to come. Their house was up several feet from the yard and garage level and we hoped the water would stop as the rain was stopping.

At one point I decided to mark a spot on their patio and time how fast the water was approaching the house. About a foot a minute. Before long we realized it was going to come in the house. We stacked up everything we could onto tables and countertops. Leila grabbed a basket of her clothes, shoes, her iMac (thank God we got the Mac!), photos, toiletries, etc. Once the water started to come through the crawlspace into the front yard and around the sides of the house, we figured we didn’t have much time before the front yard would start to fill up also.

When we left in the evening the water was not quite to foundation level. Sunday night at 11pm when Jason and I drove past to check the water was starting to overtake the street and was at least 6″ above their foundation level. Monday morning, less than 12 hours later, the water was about 4′ over their foundation level. It was bizarre and horrific and sad. We are thankful that everyone is OK. All of that is just stuff and can be replaced. It’s all very traumatic and still very fresh as I write this Tuesday afternoon. I hope I’m communicating clearly! Pictures will probably explain better than words anyway:

When we got there on Sunday afternoon

Still in unbelief and wondering if it’s going to stop before it reaches the foundation level

Leila, her sister-in-law Kala and brother Nate taking the last few things out of the house before we gave up

Leila and Kala were able to laugh at the absurdity of wading through the front yard with L’s wedding dress and faulty umbrella

A few more as we drove away Sunday afternoon, taken with my digital camera (others are my phone):

Monday was sunny and beautiful weather.

This is as close as we could get. That’s their house on the right.

Neighbor across the street

This water was flowing with the flow of the Cumberland River which is about 1/2 a mile from their house, straight back from the tree line.


Exterior Paint Colors


I recently saw an article on Exterior colors for 1960’s Houses on Retro Renovation (the mac-daddy of mcm home blogs). Good timing because some friends/neighbors of ours have a 1960’s brick ranch that needs painted – *needs* because it’s an ugly color of carrot-orange brick! I took the initiative to mock up some color suggestions for them. The trim and gutters have recently been painted chocolate brown.


Lemon Loaf Yellow

Cool Coastal Blue

Elephant At-Least-Its-Not-Beige Gray

Charcoal Taupe Gray

I’m trying to nudge them toward something besides beige/cream/vanilla/blah. Which do you like best?