A Table For Eight

The dining room is shaping up nicely.  I searched high and low for the perfect table that would seat eight.  Trust me when I say that.  The dining room was without a table for about 8 months.  So when I saw the Paloma II dining table at the Crate and Barrel outlet in Naperville, I couldn’t let it pass us by; because it had already happened to us once.  We went to the outlet one weekend, fell in love with the table but went home empty handed to “think about it.”  Sure enough, when we went back, the table was already gone.

What I ended up doing was call the outlet once a week to check their inventory for this particular dining table.  Surprisingly, all of the employees I spoke with were really nice and didn’t mind scouring the floor for the dining table.  When the table came back on the floor, I went and bought it the very next day!  I am so happy with the table and friends and family always comment on how beautiful the table is.

The chairs are the Threshold Brookline dining chairs from Target.  Dining chairs can be pretty pricey, especially when you’re springing for eight of them all at once.  I knew I had to look at budget options.  I originally saw the chairs in  Katie’s dining room, and I fell in love.  I waited for a furniture sale to pop up on the Target website before shelling out the cash for them.


This is Katie’s dining room picture that inspired my dining room chair choice.

Below is my dining room.  I am very happy with how the table and chairs look together.  The wood on the chair legs match perfectly with the table base.  Now I just need the perfect rug and pretty chandelier to place over the table.

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2nd Unit Renovations

We are up to our eyeballs with work on the upstairs unit.  We’ve spent the last few weekends working up there, and when I’m not working I usually go up there to get some work done during the week.  We’re hurrying up to finish the apartment by the end of April because we have a family interested in renting it (eek!).  They’re actually coming over tomorrow to take a look at it.  I warned them it’s not finished and still a work in progress.  They don’t seem to mind.

I took “before” pictures of the apartment but never posted them on the blog.  The layout upstairs is identical as our first floor unit.  The only big difference is that there is carpet in the living, dining, and 3 bedrooms upstairs; whereas our unit has hardwood floors throughout.  We contemplated tearing out the carpet upstairs but ultimately decided to leave it for acoustic purposes.  Carpet decreases the noise heard from people walking upstairs, and this is especially important since I work nights and need to sleep during the day.

I’ll quit my rambling and show you what the upstairs looked like….

The living room, complete with a built-in faux fireplace which we are keeping for charm purposes.ImageImage

The dining room and a sad looking chandelier :(ImageImage

A very vintage bathroom.  I absolutely love the floor in this bathroom, and it’s in great condition too.  We kept all of the tile in the bathroom and only replaced the sink, vanity, and mirror.  The hubby also drywalled the upper half of the walls because the plaster was cracking, peeling, and in simply terrible shape.  So it was just easier to put sheets of drywall over the plaster.  I will show you updated pictures of what the bathroom looks like now.  :)ImageImageImage

And last but not least, the saddest kitchen and pantry you will ever see…

We easily decided that in order to make the apartment more desirable we needed to replace the kitchen cabinets all-together.  And we did!  And they’re up now!  I’m most excited about this room in the whole apartment because it makes a world of a difference with the new cabinets in. Just need to measure for the countertop to place the order and then have it installed.

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Gardening Fail

Last week I picked up a couple of herb plants from my local grocery store.  I had no plans to do so, but I went to the store to pick up a bunch of cilantro and came across these pretty potted herbs.  I thought to myself, “I can save myself future trips to the store if I just grow my own herbs at home.”  So I picked up a cilantro pot and a pot of parsley, two herbs I frequently use.

A week later….this is what they look like.  FAIL.  I have a hunch they need a ton more sunlight than what comes in through the kitchen window.  I’ve been watering them daily like the instructions indicate to do so.  So frustrating.  The really sad looking one on the left is the cilantro plant.  The parsley looks like it might make it.  I also think the stems are a little long which makes it more difficult for the stems to remain perky.


Living Room Update

The living room has come a long way.  But there’s still a lot of work to be done.  First, let me take you back to where we started.

IMG_5707After almost a year of living in our house, we have transformed the living room into a much more pleasant room to hang out in.  We painted the walls, ceiling, and crown molding.  The walls are my favorite color ever; BM Edgecomb Gray.  Friends compliment on it all the time.  I donated the old pillows and replaced them with pretty new ones from Homegoods.  Installed a pair of beautiful wall sconces.  The difference they make in the room lighting at night is worth the investment.  Found a pretty coffee table at Hayneedle.com.  This was a last minute purchase before hosting my husband’s 30th birthday party last November.  I added accessories to the coffee table, but that’s still a work in progress.


This pretty blue chair is my favorite seat in the house.  It’s from IKEA and I think it’s fabulous.  It definitely makes the room.  The side table was another Homegoods find, also known as my favorite store ever.


Remember this?

IMG_5115This wall is obviously nowhere near done, but it has come a long way from the overly yellow walls that once were when we moved in.  I’m thinking about adding a console table to the left of the sofa or maybe a tall bookcase?  Not sure yet.  The wheels are still churning on that, but when I find the right piece I’ll be sure to update on that.  I’m thinking two large artwork pieces for this wall?  I already have a artwork gallery wall in the adjacent dining room.  I think another gallery wall will be overkill.  This is a huge wall, so whatever I put up there needs to have a huge impact.  Like boom!  I feel a tear coming on looking at this picture and the last Elvis photobomb (Sigh).

I’m also on the hunt for the perfect rug.  I bought this one from Crate and Barrel but it got dirty so quick I pulled it up after about two months.  The rug is now sitting in our basement waiting for the perfect spot, I’m thinking a less traffic area such as our bedroom.  But we’ll see.ImageImage

I’m thinking another chair to go next to the blue one to fill up all the empty space.  This living room is huge!Image

Cool Etsy Shop

Etsy can be an overwhelming sea of finds.  You really have to comb through the content to find that one special piece of art, furniture, or artist that grabs your attention and inspires you.

I recently came across the shop Water In My Paint.  The prints are to die for  These animal watercolor prints don’t get cuter than this.  Definitely one of a kind and a shop you must check out.

Below are some of my faves…

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My Dear Sweet Elvis

To say that this weekend has been rough is an understatement.  My heart is broken.

Yesterday my husband dropped off Elvis at his new home.  I initially decided to go with but had a change of heart at the last minute.  I couldn’t bear leaving him and driving away without him in our car.  I’ve been a mess these last few days, I just hope that this pain and heartache that I feel will begin to heal soon.  

I wrote an email to his new owners in which I poured my heart out in hopes that they will understand why I wasn’t there yesterday to wish him well in his new home.

You’re probably wondering why we decided to find him a new home.  The main reason is because I found out that I’m allergic to dogs.  The secondary reason and the one that breaks my heart (because I was willing to deal with the rash and hives) is, you see, I work nights.  And I felt that I wasn’t giving him the life that he deserved.  I felt guilty coming home in the morning after a shift and having to go to bed.  He would sleep all night and end up sleeping all day with me too.  He was a trooper.  Never barked and always let me sleep a good day’s sleep.  

My heart aches now that he’s not here.  But rather than re-write and re-live the emotional memories, I have copied the e-mail I sent to Bernee.  I warn you, it’s a sappy letter…

Hi Bernee,

This is Araceli, Cesar’s wife.  First and foremost, I want to apologize for not being there yesterday to meet the family and drop off Elvis.  When Cesar told me how well the first visit went, I told him I wanted to be there to hand over Elvis to his new family .  As the day came closer, I changed my mind and decided it was best if Cesar went alone.  I didn’t have the heart to leave my sweet Elvis and drive off without him in our car.

To say that I’m a hot mess is an understatement.  My heart is broken.  It was a rough last few days with him.  Knowing that our hours together were less and less was painful to bear.  And it’s been a rough weekend without him here.  This morning was especially tough as we realized that we’d never hear the jingle of his dog tag as he walked through the house, and that we’d never see his nose peeking through our bedroom door in the mornings.  He was not allowed in our bed due to my allergies, but for some reason on Friday he climbed up there and I found him taking a nap on our bed.  I didn’t say anything.  I just cherished the moment.  I cried like a baby on Thursday as we played together.  I think he knew what was coming because he seemed more affectionate than usual and didn’t leave my side all day.

As I cleaned the house today, I cried pretty much the entire time.  As I swept away his hairs off the floor and vacuumed the sofa where he slept, I felt as if I was erasing what was left of him in our house.  Pretty soon all the hairs will be gone and all that will be left are his pictures on the wall.  
There are sweet reminders of him all over the house.  A tennis ball behind the basement door, the dirty walls, a paw print on the wall, my chewed up slippers, the chewed up furniture, his soccer ball (he loves to play soccer and is a mean goalie!) and the endless paw prints all over the ice and snow in our backyard.  Even the poop.  Cesar and I joked that it would be very emotional when we clean it up.  I don’t think neither of us wanted to do it alone so we said we’d do it together.
Elvis taught me so much, and for that I will be forever grateful.  He taught me what it is to love and be loved unconditionally.  He taught me to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life; a walk in the park; an open field to play catch; a car ride to the store; the sunshine streaming through the window; the sound of children walking home from school (he would get so excited and bark because he wanted to go outside and play with them).
Elvis was my everything.  But I’m glad he’s in a great new home where he can spread out and have Moe to play with. My only hope is that Elvis’ transition is a smooth one and that he remembers how much we love him.
Cesar said that it might help with my grieving process if I go and visit sometime to meet you and the family.  I would very much like that if it’s ok with you and the family.
This is my cellphone number 630.742.xxxx.  Feel free to call or text anytime.  I’d love to hear from you from time to time to see how Elvis is doing.
I attached a few pictures of Elvis and our shenanigans.  The first one is of me and Elvis as I said my goodbye.  The one of him in the lawn is my favorite puppy picture of him.  There’s Elvis and his first Christmas.  Cesar and Elvis on our camping trip last summer at Wisconsin Dells.  Elvis taking a nap during a car ride.  And the last one is him looking apprehensive about going down the stairs, he didn’t know how to yet.   
Please give Elvis a big hug and a kiss for me.
Araceli Quintero





House Floor plan

Just the other day I realized I never really posted a proper floor plan of our house.  Our house is a two unit, as you may already know, and both units have identical floor plans.  I quickly drew up a sketch that’s not to scale but fairly accurate in terms of the size proportions of all the rooms.

There are two entrances to our house.  We mainly use the rear entrance because the garage is located at the back of the house.  Bedroom #1 is what you would call the master bedroom.  There is nothing master about it just that we sleep there.  Our bedroom is just slightly larger than bedroom #2, which we currently use as the guest bedroom.  Bedroom #3 is our office and is the room with the best light in the house.  At all hours of the day this room is super bright from all the natural light that filters in.  How I wish our bedroom had this beautiful light shining in all day.

Our kitchen is a decent size for being such an old house (built in the 1920’s).  And probably the best thing about

it is the walk-in pantry!  Everyone who comes to visit raves about our huge pantry which we recently re-did.


2nd Unit

If you’re unfamiliar with our house, you might not know that we own a two-flat.  We live on the first floor and rent out the upstairs.  The layout of the two unit’s is identical.  However, the upstairs unit has carpet in the entire apartment except for the kitchen and bathroom.  I’m guessing they previous owners installed the carpet to minimize noise form footsteps coming from the upstairs unit.  I pulled up a corner of the carpet and was excited to see beautiful gleaming hardwood floors underneath!

I think we’ll keep the carpet for now for the same reasons, and especially because I work the night shift.  So anything we can do to lessen  noise coming from upstairs is very much appreciated.

The tenants moved out the first week of January.  They were living there when we purchased the house last year, so really, we haven’t done any improvements to the space.  We’re currently busy painting the entire apartment, which has proved to be a slow-going process considering we both work and can only work upstairs on the weekends and some weeknights.  I also want to upgrade the light fixtures in all the rooms.  Currently, it’s a hodgepodge of dated and ugly lighting fixtures.  We are also replacing the switch plates for a uniform and clean look.  A small detail that really goes a long way.  We’ll also be updating the bathroom a bit and if the budget allows, we’d like to replace the kitchen cabinets because the ones that are currently there are ghetto!

I’ll try and post pictures soon!

DIY Art for the Bedroom

I have a bunch of frames around the house that still need artwork/photographs to fill them.  Inspired by Made by Girl’s black dots artwork, I decided to give it a shot and come up with my own version of the abstract black dots piece.  I had a bottle of black acrylic paint already on hand, as well as paint brushes and a pad of watercolor paper.  The watercolor paper has a nice thick weight to it which I thought would work very well.

All I did was splatter black paint on the paper and took my brush to spread around some of the thicker blobs of paint.  Not very scientific but it worked and I love how it turned out.



I ended up switching out the previous artwork (a Clare Elsaesser print) that was in this frame because first of all, the print was a 5×7 and the frame holds an 8×10 so it looked weird.  Second of all, I didn’t like how the colors of the print worked with the serene color scheme of the bedroom.

Remember this?



So happy how it turned out.

And that Clare Elsaesser print?  It now resides here, in the office.  I looks soooo much better, especially with the dark wood frame.  It brings out the colors in the print beautifully.








New Kitchen Table

I recently scored the coolest teak mid-century kitchen table at an estate sale.  I had been on the hunt for one for what seemed forever.  Our previous table was an Ikea purchase and we were ready to upgrade.  The other reason we were due for a new one was that our chew-happy dog, Elvis, completely tore up the table.  The table legs looked like a beaver took residence and went to town with it.  The table looked horrendous.

The table had to seat 4 and I knew I wanted it to be round.  Our old Ikea one was square and I wanted a change.  Also, I felt a round table would create more movement within our boxy kitchen.

I saw the ad for the estate sale which included a picture of the table on it.  I went twice to look at it before taking the hubby to see it before deciding to bring it home with us.  Yes, I’m indecisive, but I’m so glad I decided to go with my gut.  The mid-century chairs are my favorite element of the little set.  It’s just what I was looking for.  And the table itself has a gorgeous inlay design.