When your plans for a Brooklyn Brownstone ish Halloween become more Miss Havesham

Brownstone Halloween Brooklyn

I wanted to stack heirloom pumpkins and create a spooky, cobwebby scene on our front stoop. You know, kind of like some stylish Brooklyn-ite might put on her brownstone stoop.

Instead, our chickens began pecking the pumpkins, and then the squirrels jumped in. I mean, literally. We found one waist deep in the bright orange bottom pumpkin. 

So I give you our Miss Havesham stoop instead ;)

Holey pumpkins

See the hanging rat?

Spider web

By June, This is the Zombie House. 

Sobe hose  June note

Truett's impaled, disembodied zombie hand, creeping out of the water meter.

Zombie hand  limp

Top image via Short & Sweet

Our chickens have no boundaries

Chickens living room 1

I half expect them to run through the house singing Snoop Dogg. 

I'm pondering a fall post all about pumpkins, Halloween, & red and gold leaves (I am an unapologetic fall enthusiast. Bring on the decorative gourds. Bring on the excessive use of pumpkin spice. A witches hat makes me terribly happy.) but in the meantime, here I bring you pictures of our chickens.

When I leave the back door open - as I am wont to do in the fall - they have grown bold in their determination to check out the house.

I call this one, Caught Eating the Dogfood.

Chickens run from dogfood

This one, Copper Doesn't Give a Shit.

Chickens living room 2

And this one, well, it's not in the house, but it is Pitch hiding in the neighbor's bushes. I jumped off the couch yesterday because someone was sitting outside our house honking. When I ran outside I saw it was our beloved neighbor who gleefully told me to run and take pictures of the chickens in her bushes.  

I like to call this one, Pitch Doesn't Give a Shit.

Pitch hiding Mary's yard

Marling renovation before & after photos

Good morning! Yesterday was our first official day of listing the renovation :) so I thought I'd take the opportunity to do some before & after pictures below, since that's basically the reason for renovations, right? So, let's get to it, shall we?

The side of the house which, in this case, also contains the front door (I think it's called a Charleston porch?)




After Marling outside

The biggest impacts: gravel driveway, white railing, pressure washing & fun paint colors.

The living room. It already gets great natural light, so it was more of an unveiling than a fix.




Marling after living room 2

Another after, same room, different view

After Marling living room

The biggest impacts: this room was simple, we just lightened up all of the paint colors, took down a couple of scrubby trees in front of the picture window, & refinished the floors.

The master bedroom. Large for a cottage - something I love about this house is that the proportions are really good.




After Marling master bedroom

Our biggest impacts here were also simple: lightened up the paint (the paint color I used throughout almost the entire house was called Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore (it's both warm and clean), refinished the floors, and updated the ceiling fixture. The fan was actually a craigslist find that I took apart, repainted the blades and then hung.

The smaller bedroom/office. This one gets great light too.




After Marling office

Biggest impacts: fixed the window glass (dur), lightened the walls & refinished the floors. 

The bathroom. This was, along with the kitchen, one of my biggest projects. It wasn't totally ripped down to the studs, but nearly. And since it is the only bathroom in the house, I wanted it to feel special. Someone at the open house said it has a Nordic-feel, I like that description :)




After Marling bathroom

The biggest impacts here might have been...everything. We added shiplap to the bottom half of the walls, retiled the entire shower with white subway tiles, replaced all fixtures, re-enameled the tub, and I found an antique mirror to hang above the sink. The hexagonal tiles on the floor are probably my favorite part. Here is a better picture of them I posted on instagram.

The kitchen. Ah, the kitchen. I used this kitchen by the famous Emily Henderson as my main inspiration. We had to make tweaks along the way - and the floors are notably (but beautifully) different. For this room I'll do a few before/afters. Too much to show :)




After Marling Kitchen 3




After Marling Kitchen




After Marling Kitchen 2

The kitchen probably requires a separate post all of its own, but suffice to say we replaced nearly everything. We also made space and rewired for a dishwasher (!) and moved some other electrical stuff around so the kitchen feels well organized and put together. 

This project was transformative for me. There were days when I'd be inside the house, my kids literally playing with sticks in the backyard, and I thought there was no way I was going to make it. The project seemed never ending, daunting, & it was difficult to see the forest for the trees. I will not deny a few tears.

The promise of looking at these before and after pictures became a bit of a carrot-at-the-end-of-the-stick image in the my head. I am so proud of what I (we) did, and, as is often the case with hard work, hope to have this opportunity again soon.

Let me know if you have any questions about materials/paint colors and I'll be delighted to share. xoxo

Photo credits go to:

Before - Chuck Holden Photography

After - Look2 Home Marketing

Renovation with pictures - almost done!

Marling floors finished hallway

We are ALMOST done at the renovation house! In the last two weeks - along with my computer being in the shop on and off for weeks - we've had the counters installed, floors refinished, patched some concrete on the walkway (mostly Bud's doing) & the backsplash/sink went in just today!

If you follow me on instagram you'll also see that my real estate agent and her team staged the house and it looks so good. I find myself wanting to stay more and more when I'm over there. It oddly feels like a second home.

Here are some pictures, if you'd like to see and! most importantly perhaps, we're having a pre-opening party this Friday, 4 - 7 and you're all invited. If you are in the Columbia area, I would love it if you stopped by. I'll post an invitation to Facebook shortly, but consider this a heads up. The address is: 2642 Marling Drive 29204.

Marling walkway patch

Marling counters in truck

Marling counter example

Marling floors being sanded

Marling bathroom - after

A belated house renovation update

Marling driveway

My computer has been in the shop five times in the last three weeks so it's been...frustrating, and hard to do updates.

In any event, I think we're headed into the home stretch of the house renovation. 

Our counters are going in on the 29th, which is a bit later than I'd hoped, so to work around that I've decided to go ahead and schedule the completion of the HVAC system & the floors next week. We'll just have to be careful on the new floors for a few days longer than I thought!

Marling mailbox

I walked through with my real estate agent yesterday and we came up with a price (!) and she pointed out that we need a range hood in the kitchen. So. Just an FYI to anyone out there doing the same thing and note to self for next house. That'll push me a little over budget, but so far I've managed to stay very close to my original amount, so I feel good about that :) Being a budget stickler is so helpful for surprise fixes and then, obviously, the eventual bottom line.

Cabinet pull + knob

Last week I put in the new gravel driveway, mulch & pine straw. The cabinets are in and painted & I got drawer pulls + knobs. They also finished the kitchen floors and even though I wasn't super excited about vinyl tile to begin with, I LOVE the way it looks. 

Marling floors

Oh! And those gorgeous mailbox numbers are custom made by my sister, who just started her own company, Wynn Designs.

The house still needs some interior paint (kitchen, hallway) which, to be honest, feels endless some days, and we'll add a railing to the small porch off the kitchen. But we're close! (I keep telling myself ;)

Hope you're enjoying your last bit of summer. xo

More renovation updates? Ok.

Numbers taped Marling

Remember this little project? It looked so pretty in that bottom picture that made it look like I'd just plunk those numbers on a pretty white plank and mount it next to the front door. How cute few-days-ago-Hope you were.

I tried using the hardware it came with but it was huge, unwieldy, cracked the wood, & plus was complicated for my non-detail oriented brain. 

Wood putty Marling numbers

So I used wood putty to fix it, sanded it down, re-painted it and went to the hardware store for better screws. 

Now I need to try & mount the numbers by drilling the screws in the back. Which only requires I get the holes perfectly lined up with the front. NBD. 

On an up note, the kitchen cabinets are installed & they are priming them today! Wahoo!

Kitchen cabinets Marling

House numbers on our renovation


I'm in a bit of a hurry-up-and wait stage with the renovation right now. My contractor is busy building cabinets :) and so I'm working on little inside projects, mostly, tediously, painting and more painting. It's a small house, but by the time you add in the scraping and painting of doors, windows & molding, it seems endless. 

In the meantime, Bud is working on a railing for the front porch & we've been discussing what to do with an old door that leads to the kitchen. 

Next week I'll meet with a friend who has a landscaping company and she's agreed to help me with a plan for the front yard.

The only fun thing I can show you right now is this little house number project. I took two pieces of shiplap, used finishing nails to connect them, painted the board and got these cool looking numbers from Home Depot. Although similar in so many ways, Lowes and Home Depot differ enough that I've found I do have to ping pong between the two. Turns out Home Depot had much more attractive house numbers. If this board works out - I haven't attached the numbers yet and am traveling this week - I'll put the finished product next to the front door. I'm stoked, I think so far it looks pretty. 

Hope you're having a good week so far. xo


Renovation front door picture

Marling front door San Jose Blue

For those of you not on instagram, here's a picture of the freshly painted front door + the Soot (Benjamin Moore see previous post) field color :)

I spent Saturday morning repainting the porch ceiling & will post a picture to that soon.

Happy Monday. 


Updates on the renovation

Marling exterior paint

The most exciting thing that happened at the Marling renovation this week was the exterior paint. I don't have a picture including the front door(s) - they were painted yesterday - but I can show you one exterior wall (above) and the paint colors.

I decided to go with Soot by Benjamin Moore for the outside. I don't love the tiles that comprise the outside of the house, so I went with something dark and something that will look crisp and clean next to the white trim.

Marling front door paint

I went with my gut on the front door(s) and ended up doing San Jose Blue, also by Benjamin Moore. I asked my painter to use the blue and cut it with white to paint the porch ceiling, but it is still way too bright, so I'm going to cut a gallon of white with just a bit of the blue and roll it again myself. The doors though, look so great :) (And if you're interested, the history of light blue porch ceilings).

Marling bedroom paint

I'm also almost done with the interior paint - mostly a creamy white with bright white for trim.

Marling sink on road

Proudest moment, and I totally put my arms in the air and yelled when I dropped this thing on the curb. Good thing you weren't there or I probably would've embarrassed you (looking at you, Georgia).

Marling backsplash removal

Plus, a picture of tearing out the original backsplash.

Happy Friday 

Marling renovation - kitchen

Emily Henderson kitchen inspiration

This picture, of this stunning kitchen by Emily Henderson, is all over the internet. So, no originality points there. But it is a lovely jumping off point & is helping inform my decisions with the - differently shaped - kitchen at our Marling (street name) renovation. 

In the end, I've had to make lots of compromises, mainly and most painfully, a farmhouse sink just wouldn't work in this kitchen. Because I'm trying to keep the renovation as cost-effective as possible - which also helps me to splurge here and there - I just couldn't risk having to remake the cabinets below. I'm doing a mixture of keeping the existing cabinetry, & adding new cabinetry on the other side of the kitchen.


This is the sink I bought


This faucet.

Vinyl tile picture

I'm not sure about the floor yet, but I think I'll use luxury vinyl tile in a light, ash color (the photo came from polyflor).

Wolf Gray paint Benjamin Moore

I will use this gorgeous paint color for the cabinets, it's called Wolf Gray and it's by Benjamin Moore. I'll make the cabinets look aesthetically similar by doing all new doors. 

Because this is a small house, the water heater & the washer/dryer all have to go into the kitchen. Luckily it's quite large and we'll be using the entire second side of the kitchen for cabinets that close in the washer/dryer, water heater, and even add a little storage & counter space.

Example of white quartz countertop

My biggest splurge will be white quartz counter top. Although I love butcher block, it's specific to taste and I think quartz will set the kitchen above a bit. Image here and is, obviously, just an example. 

I'm going to use simple & classic subway tile for the backsplash, I'm just deciding between light or dark grout. All the appliances will be stainless.

I'm excited & will keep trying to post updates :)



About Me

My Photo Hi! I'm Hope. Welcome to my website all about: style, food, travel & parenting. I live in Columbia, SC with my husband and two bebes.