Guess who joined me for my ten miler?

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The Husband has gotten really into running – it’s pretty awesome.  For a long time, he’d join me on 2 – 4 mile jaunts, but while I’ve been training for this Half Marathon, we’ve been doing all of our runs together.  He’s gone from someone who didn’t understand why anyone would ever want to run more than 45 minutes to someone who is dragging ME out the door.  Our ten miles went well – he definitely pulled me forward for the last two miles.  Gotta love having a slightly faster running buddy.


So – can we talk home renos?


Two weeks ago, we got a new oven, microwave, and fridge!  We upgraded from 15 year old white appliances to pretty stainless ones.


Here’s what our kitchen looked like when we were house shopping:


And here’s what it looks like now:


We ended up with a mix of General Electric and Samsung.  I really appreciate the new microwave and oven because the handles on both the old ones were broken.  But upgrading the fridge made the most difference because our old fridge light was broken.  You don’t realize  how nice a fridge light is until you don’t have one.  It’s the little things, huh?


Up next for the kitchen is new backsplash, countertops, and flooring.  I hate my backsplash with a passion – it’s a very 1990s square white tile that isn’t even installed straight.  Hmmmph.


The countertops aren’t an eyesore, but they aren’t anything special.  Also, when combined with the light cabinets and light backsplash, the creamy countertops really wash out the room.


Unfortunately, these upgrades aren’t happening anytime soon.  Our budget only allowed for appliances or tile – guess you know what we picked!  But I hope to have the cash saved soon.


I guess it’s good that time is on our side because we have no idea what we want to do in terms of color schemes.  Light cabinets aren’t very popular these days, and I cannot find a good ‘inspiration’ photo to save my life!  I’ve started a kitchen Pinterest board, but it appears to be more, “I wish my kitchen looked like this!” v. “We can make our kitchen look like this!”  And I really love having a great inspiration picture when decorating… When I just go off the image in my head, it never turns out as well.


This photo (and this nursery design) was the inspiration for Henry’s room.



See?!  So helpful to have an inspiration photo.


I did snap this picture of an episode of HGTV House Hunters… The woman’s kitchen looked a lot like ours, at least in terms of the cabinet color and appliances.

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Henry and I looked at backsplashes, and we found a few good contenders…


But, like I said, this reno isn’t happening for a while.


One DIY project that is happening – and soon – is finishing the powder room.  Oh man.  This room has become a bit of a nightmare room (and it’s so small! How can such a small room be such a design headache?!).  I just don’t know what to do with it…  When we moved in, it looked like this:


We stripped the wallpaper IMMEDIATELY and had it painted a  light blue.  A few months in, I decided that I disliked the color and wanted to stencil the bathroom.  I have never stenciled before, but I figured a small room wouldn’t be that hard.  SO WRONG.  First of all, small rooms are harder to stencil because there are no giant expanses of walls – corners are hard to stencil.  Also, I was trying to stencil two high contrast colors (dark gray and light gray), which made mistakes very apparent.


You can kind of tell how the stencil started to slope on the right…


Anyway, I spent about 10 hours (no joke) stenciling the bathroom and then I realized that I had about 10 hours to go, if I included time to fix mistakes.  This was in the midst of Half Ironman training, and I had no patience for continuing such a large project.  I gave up and painted over my stencil, and the room has been like that since September or so.


So we’ve been stuck with a hastily painted, murky gray bathroom for half a year.


Until now!  My goal for this week is to prime and paint the bathroom.  I was SO tempted to paint it something fun – I believe that powder rooms can be a bit wild and fun.


… But while studying an emerald green paint swatch, I realized that I really don’t want to have to paint this bathroom for a FIFTH time when we put the house on the market.  So I went with a color called White Asparagus.


Thrilling, right?  Hah.  It may not be wild or fun, but at least it’s classy and not taste-specific.


What home DIY projects are you working on right now? I’m hoping that publicly announcing that I’m painting the bathroom motivates me to actually do it!



  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun February 17, 2014, 2:58 pm

    I don’t have any house projects going on right now but I am starting to look around on Pinterest for ideas for when we move in June. We won’t be buying – still renting but I want to give it more of a “home” feel then what we have now. I do best when I have something to go off of like you said! Thank goodness for Pinterest!

  • Ja @Ja on the RUN February 17, 2014, 3:23 pm

    Love the kitchen upgrade and I love the idea for henry’s room! 🙂
    Have fun renovating! I love house projects! 🙂

  • Traci February 17, 2014, 3:46 pm

    Pretty appliances! No home projects for me right now as I am renting a house now, so it’s not really worth it to improve what isn’t mine and I won’t be in forever! But I love following along with others…

  • Laura February 17, 2014, 4:00 pm

    I actually love your bathroom color now! I think you could totally work with that if you didn’t feel like repainting again (but I also love gray!).

    • Caitlin February 17, 2014, 4:08 pm

      I love gray too but this is such a yucky gray!!! The color in real life is not as cute as the color on the blog.

  • Anne February 17, 2014, 4:50 pm

    Our half bath was terrible when we moved. The previous owners had decided to apply this gold/purplish red faux finish. BLECH! Of course they also painted a room University of Texas burnt orange, so I’m not sure about their decorating tastes. Perhaps they were Longhorn fans. Anyway, we painted both a taupe color, which matched the foyer/hallway. Good luck painting! I started with our half bath, and it was so difficult, since it’s so small.

  • Elizabeth @ Positive Change February 17, 2014, 5:03 pm

    Good luck with all your DIY! I am sure the bathroom is going to look great! Right now we are working on the eating nook and bedroom and it is driving me nuts! I love your line of dream vs. reality! So true!

  • Sarah Evans February 17, 2014, 5:06 pm

    I think your stenciling looked really great and cool actually!
    Have you ever been on Houzz? If not, you will love it, it’s full of amazing inspiration! They have so many amazing ideas and designs, you could really find your dream kitchen and spend time browsing the ideabooks.
    Good luck on the renos and get that bathroom painted!

  • BC February 17, 2014, 5:18 pm

    Young Hose Love has a new thing they are doing where you send them a photo of your trouble area, and they give you a few ideas of how to fix it. It might be super helpful for ideas for the kitchen or powder room.

  • Marissa C February 17, 2014, 6:07 pm

    Couple ideas for you–
    Have you seen these backsplashes? They are pretty reasonable, look nice, and you can install them yourself: (Lowes and Home Depot carry some of the more popular designs)

    Also, have you considered redoing your cabinets yourself? Chalk paint (not chalkboard paint) could work really well and be easier to deal with than restaining.

    Both of those are more budget friendly and might let you splurge on countertops–my favorite part of a kitchen!

  • Ali February 17, 2014, 6:27 pm

    The bathroom color currently is MUCH too dark for the space – it makes it look smaller than what it likely is. This is emphasized by the lack of natural light – a dark color needs to be offset by light, like a window of by just painting an accent color rather than the entire room. The color will open it up and let you dress it up and change the design by simply changing the accessories. Buy some pretty towels, matching garbage cans, soap dispenser, etc. Sometimes you can find some great stuff on clearance at Target or Kohls – it’s a cheap fix and gives you an opportunity to change the design of a small room without spending a huge amount of money. The only advice I’d give on the color is make sure it goes well with the woodwork. White woodwork can be hard to work with if you have a slightly off white color.

  • Amy February 17, 2014, 6:38 pm

    Hey Caitlin – I went through the EXACT same thing with our kitchen, light cabinets that I wasn’t in love with.

    Here is what we came up with:

    Love your appliances, that is what lost in our reno budget! 🙂

  • Kathleen February 17, 2014, 6:39 pm

    If you guys haven’t bought the new paint yet you might want to reconsider the color, especially if you’re not a fan of how white/light the kitchen is. I’d be afraid your realtor will tell you to repaint it anyways so it isn’t so white 🙁

  • Rebecca February 17, 2014, 6:41 pm

    That was a crazy stencil pattern. Even if it had been finished, it probably would’ve been way too much in that tiny of a room… IMO, anyway. And it looks more like purple than gray to me in that lighting.

    I would love for our house to have some stuff finished. Our sliding glass door is off its track because of settling and it’s letting in a draft. I don’t know why we didn’t just put in a new one when we did the deck. The handrail at the bottom of the stairs is coming out of the wall and my dad keeps saying he’s gonna fix it and then not fixing it. It would take him like 20 minutes but nope. /sigh

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork February 17, 2014, 6:42 pm

    Too funny–we were at Home Depot today! We’re also updating our kitchen on a very small budget. We had some pine cut for shelves and bought some L brackets to make an industrial looking (inspiration photo: We also had some blinds cut. Still need to put up a curtain on that and our back door, get some artwork, and update the backsplash. The backsplash is terrible! Whoever did it cut it crooked, didn’t grout, and has some of them pieced together. I’ve never seen anything like it. Will share on my blog when we change it because it’s too horrible to even imagine!

    I like the stencil! Couldn’t tell the problems from the picture. Good luck with painting!

  • Abi@AbsofSteel February 17, 2014, 7:55 pm

    all of your rooms are decorated so nicely, I wish I was a little more handy when it comes to home decor. My mother does a lovely job of it though.

  • Heather February 17, 2014, 9:42 pm

    The beauty of going from owning a home to renting an apartment is no renovations!

    An idea for the cabinets take the doors off and keep them open shelves, painted white. That requires display level neatness and organization though and I know (from your utensil drawer) that might not be your thing. 🙂 Maybe just just paint everything white?

  • Janneke February 18, 2014, 3:53 am

    Love the colours & feel in your home, great blog! Looking forward to read more! 😉

    Ciao from a citygirl from Europe,

  • Runner Girl Eats February 18, 2014, 6:40 am

    I have a love/hate relationship with home renovations. I love them at the beginning and end and loathe the middle (ie the actual work part of them!). I tend to stick to neutral looks that aren’t too daring so that I don’t get tired of it too quickly.

  • Elle February 18, 2014, 6:41 am

    Hey maybe it’s the light, but I really like the colour your bathroom is right now! Looks like dark olive…And the mirror frame…classy without being boring! I wouldn’t change it really…how about accessorising? (towels, toiletries baskets…that green picture is so pretty too!).
    Also, kudos for Henry’s room. Much much nicer than the pic you took inspiration from!

  • Daina February 18, 2014, 7:05 am

    I’ve been following your blog for some time and just want to say I love reading! I really wanted to tell you that you shouldn’t sell your home improvements short. I think Henry’s room looks awesome (I prefer it over the inspiration photo!). I hope your new bathroom color sticks for a while. With such a neutral color you can hang anything, literally anything, in there for a crazy pop of color 🙂

    • Caitlin February 18, 2014, 9:27 am

      thank you daina!!

  • amc February 18, 2014, 8:22 am

    I recommend checking out Dusty at All things G&D. She has similar tones in her kitchen and installed her own backsplash.

    Also, there’s a newer product called polyshades to stain those cabinets darker. Friends just did their exact same cabinets and they turned out great. YHL just used the same product as well.

  • Tricia February 18, 2014, 9:06 am

    We are in search of a “hall tree” for our entry, which is actually in our dining room. It’s a cape cod style house and every inch of this house needs to be utilized well. We have this weird alcove thing in the dining room that is perfect for a nice looking furniture piece of storage. No idea these were called hall trees until this weekend. And, of course to get the look we want, we are probably going to have to spend a lot of money. Ugh. We also need to gut and redo our guest room. It has ceiling tile Bahaha! The kitchen is on the list too but because of functionality. I love the look of our kitchen. It’s just not functional at all.

  • Laura@SneakersandSpatulas February 18, 2014, 9:41 am

    Our kitchen was a nightmare when we moved in. We had these awful brown-pink builder grade cabinets, blue vinyl counter tops, faux brick linoleum and old ugly white appliances. First, we bought stainless steel appliances to replace the dishwasher and stove/oven (we bought a dual oven and I cannot recommend one enough) and left the white fridge for now since it works fine. Then we painted the cabinets ourselves which saved tons of money. We did it in a weekend and it cost less than $100 and they look awesome! Was time consuming but worth it. We followed the tutorial on YHL. Lastly, we purchased quartz counter tops which was a definite splurge (I think about $3800) but SO worth it. They are white with flecks of dark gray and a little bit of sparkle. This was over the course of about 1.5 years. This fall, we made our final update which is dark bamboo hardwoods throughout the downstairs. It looks like an entirely different kitchen!

  • Jenny February 18, 2014, 9:41 am

    Wait!?! Did I miss something…you guys are moving?

    • Caitlin February 18, 2014, 9:43 am

      no, not yet! but hopefully in two years.

  • Kelly February 18, 2014, 10:52 am

    We just did a complete kitchen remodel and bedroom remodel. It only took my husband 2 months do completely gut the kitchen and get everything put back in. Yes, I washed dishes in a bucket. Yes I made dinner with a hotplate, crockpot, Vitamix and toaster over. Was it worth it. YES! It was only 2 months out of my life and now I have a beautiful kitchen for the rest of my life or until we move. We aren’t finished though. It took a month for our tile backsplash to come in so that still has to be installed. But the husband went back to work so the project is at a halt for a bit. While he was waiting he decided to rip out the carpet in our bedroom and paint. Thank God for a handy husband.

  • Reenie February 18, 2014, 11:29 am

    Post on Better After (one of my fav blogs) featured cabinets going darker.

    Great choice on making the small bathroom the lighter color because of the size. That way, you can bring your color in with the accents. 🙂

  • Amisha February 18, 2014, 12:23 pm

    The best website for home renovation ideas is Even if many of the finished products are high end, you can find lower end substutions. MUCH better photos than pinterest. Good luck!!

    • susanna b. February 18, 2014, 2:20 pm

      second that. My husband and I re-did our only bathroom all by ourselves last summer and I furiously went to houzz to help me visualize design ideas. Are you planning on doing all of the work yourself? A kitchen is not as bad a a bathroom. We are re-doing our kitchen in the summer of 2015. Although, my kitchen did get a little facelift when I moved in. My cabinets are original 1950’s metal cabinets. There were stained and gross. So, I took the doors down and spry painted them white for the top and brick red for the bottom. It was a lengthy process, but as expensive as a dozen cans of paint and primer. I also drilled in some holes for some modern looking pulls. My paint job is 5 years old and it is just now getting worn down. Maybe you gan give your cabinets a facelift with some stain/paint and new pulls.

  • Joey February 18, 2014, 1:35 pm

    Love your new appliances! We bought our house in June & the kitchen is VERY similar in terms of color scheme. We have the same ugly white backsplash, paired with white Corian counters and light cabinets. We have only replaced our microwave so far, but my kitchen is my least favorite room in the house and I get overwhelmed when I think of everything I’d like to do to improve it. Let me know if you find some good inspiration photos – I always love your diy projects! They turn out so good! 🙂

  • Melissa February 18, 2014, 4:04 pm

    I really like the inspiration photo of the kitchen from HGTV! The backsplash and counter tops can be done much more budget friendly than replacing cabinets….especially if you can find a wholesale or independent supplier for the counter tops. (This is speaking from someone who has literally ripped out almost her whole house. But when we redid the kitchen we did not have the cash to replace the cabinets so we worked around them and it seriously kept the cost down/manageable)

  • Marissa February 18, 2014, 9:43 pm

    My recommendation is to paint your kitchen cabinets white. I spent 3 months last summer painting my almost 60 year old orangy wood kitchen cabinets white…..BEST THING I EVER DID! Almost my entire kitchen is white now, except for countertops and it looks fantastic. It’s a ton of work, but totally worth it, and inexpensive if you do it yourself! By the way, my kitchen looks about the same size as yours.

  • kristen@ livinlifeinlouie February 19, 2014, 11:04 pm

    Haveyou ever thought of painting the countertop? my cousin did that in the bathroom. It was a pretty big counterspace, and looks great!

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