rahrighouse projects | lights, camera, action!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetI’ve been quiet for a while, I know. But, I’ve had a realllllly good reason. A totally unexpected, never could have predicted, one-in-a-million reason:

Basically, we’ve lived THE dream. You know – the dream you have when you’re the type of person who binge-watches Property Brothers, have designed your “tiny house” in your head, and whisper “shiplap” as you drift off to sleep most nights…

That’s right, folks. The Rahrigs, and our sweet little Connecticut home, are going to be ON TV!


It alllll started when we received a knock on our door on a rainy day in February. The Husband was out of the house, I was upstairs with the little guy who was grouchily waking up from a nap, and the last thing I wanted to do was run down to see who was there (like, we had two friends so far in CT… maybe it was the mail lady?). I finished getting T settled, looked through the window on the off-chance someone was still there, and noticed a truck in the driveway. I cautiously walked down the stairs, and saw a man in a baseball cap jogging up to our doorway. With a big grin, and a ton of energy, this stranger started excitedly talking…

“My name is Eric, I’m with HGTV and we think YOUR HOUSE IS PERFECT...”


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|I mean, it IS pretty cute…|


askdjfhalskdjfh. What? I thought, as I stood there with no makeup, in my socks, with the door cracked.  Was I hard-of-hearing?… He started again:

“We are doing this great new show, I’m the host, and we’re looking for a historic New England home, and a young family! Your realtor sent me over! The concept is that we are maximizing and getting creative with space that might be usually ignored…”

askldjfhajskdfh. Huuuuuuh? I was visibly scoffing at this point. Like, this sounded too good to be true, right? Or, I just finished a nine-week renovation and barely escaped with my sanity, so NO I do NOT want any more construction within 100 MILES OF MYSELF ever, ever, ever agin, right?

But, he seemed genuine enough. So, I let him finish talking. And I kindly took his name and number, thanked him, closed the door, and called the husband to tell him this hilarious story… Little did I know where this random happening would take us!

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Fast-forward a few months, and our home is now more lovely than I could have imagined. And, the husband has fulfilled his lifelong dream to be a tv star. And maybe Titus has a future on Law & Order. And, we had the adventure of a lifetime.

SO, tune in to the *DIY Network on Wednesday, August 3 at 8:00p.m. to watch Amazing Space and see the new and improved RahrigHouse in all of its glory! UPDATE: Watch on the HGTV Network on Saturday, August 27 at Noon!

Also, a VERY special shout-out to my mom, sister Bekah and sister-in-law Jessica for lots of couch sleeping, box and furniture moving and babysitting during the process!

You can see more of our home renovation adventures here, and expect updates here at FreshlyMinted soon!

AMAZING SPACE LOGO

*DIY is the HGTV sister network. The show will likely air on HGTV at a later date – we’ll keep you posted!

 

rahrighouse projects | master bedroom makeover

Master doorwayOften, as we’ve finished bits and pieces of this home, I look back on the pictures we took the very first time we set foot inside…

…and I wonder what the heck we were thinking.

But, though it took an abnormally large dash of vision and plenty of elbow grease, we’re pretty much loving how everything turned out. Recently, we (finally!) got several of our pictures and bits of artwork hung on our walls, and things are feeling very homey. One of my favorite spaces in the house is now our peaceful master bedroom! What it lacks in size, I hope it makes up for in charm ;)

Master entry

Now: It’s a bright, eclectic, secret garden-grandma’s attic-farmhouse-chic space (yes, I just made that a thing) that makes me just want to ZZzzzz…. But, that was not always the case. Enter, the before:

Master before

As with most rooms in the house, this one was painted pink. And the carpet was pink. And the light fixture was pink. And though though you couldn’t keep those airy windows down, the space needed a bit of sprucing up…

…juuuust a bit.

So, carpet was pulled up, a million tacks were yanked out, walls were painted Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray, and after we found this inexpensive solution to the roughly-worn hardwood flooring, and added a few personalized touches, a real, live master bedroom was born!

Masterbefore-after

Shelving was found at (one of my favorite places on earth) Homegoods… or three different, Homegoods, actually. I was determined. And even then, I still had to paint the metalwork so they all matched. But, it was worth it, right?!

Master touches

Our bedding, curtains and curtain rods, like our rug, are from Ikea (you’ll see this blessed, inexpensive, trendy, retailer pop up a LOT in future posts!).

IMG_9322Our dresser was salvaged from a curbside when I was in college, and my mama refinished it. I just added a touch of earthy-gold & glass with knobs from Hobby Lobby – these pay homage to our front door’s antique doorknob – a detail I immediately fell in love with.  

Our bed, my round mirror, favorite perfume, a “treasure box” and jewelry tray (featuring one of the first x-rays ever produced – demonstrated to the public at the turn of the century, this image is of a woman’s foot in a victorian high-laced boot… so quirky. I adore it) are all items we’ve had and loved for years.

|Quick Curtain tip – hang higher and wider than you think you should, and usually it’s just right – it maximizes the light and size of your window, and ads drama! Check out the difference in the photo below, and the snowy New England view at the end of the post! |

Masterbeforeandafter

A few photos from our wedding and our whirlwind trip to europe, along with a couple of antique books from my personal collection, round out the space…

Master view

Finally, I must note that while it has long been the stuff of my daydreams, one distinct drawback of living in an historic home is that the (most likely, as based on my extensive Little House on the Prairie/American Girl research ) three dresses and two pairs of shoes that the original owner possessed fit much more neatly into these tiny closets than my wardrobe…

Master closet

But, with a some creativity, along with kicking your husband’s clothes out into the office closet and taking over one of your son’s two random closets, it all works out. And that giant mirror is awesome for selfies. 

NeighborsSo, small changes can go a long way. Unlike our kitchen space, walls didn’t come down and there were ZERO professionals involved (like, we’ll see how long those shelves stay in place, but we tried our best), but the before/after speaks volumes! So, get out there and tackle a project of your own – tell me how it goes!

 

 

 

rahrighouse projects | diy chalk paint furniture refresh

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|a cozy, box-free living room… bliss|

Happy New Year!

We, I am happy to report that we are now construction-free! |read more about our new home adventures here| A few more touches are needed here and there (in this round of projects, of course), but we are LOVING having a WHOLE house to live in, and a beautiful one, at that! Though… we are partial :)

While I am continuing to get things squared away just-so,  I wanted to share another fun piece of our renovation |I previously shared our diy staircase refresh| – our practically free dining room set and accent chairs!


DIY Chalk Paint Furniture Refresh

Estate SaleSo, some of you know, my husband has a nose for deals. Particularly those that are really, really cheap. And, usually, not exactly the kind of stuff you want hanging around your home… (sweaty used equipment for sports we don’t play, anyone?). But, lately, he’s struck MAJOR gold. First, with this incredible lot of furniture just before the move from an estate sale  – All for $59.00. I REPEAT, $59.00.

Best day of his life, so far, I’m pretty sure.

And then, with a table and six chairs that one of the neighbors along our new street were taking to the curb! FREE. His favorite word. Now, this stuff needed love. And paint. And fabric. But, we made it happen (again, with more than little help from my mama). And, I LOVE how they turned out:

CT adventures - Nov-Dec6

|This is the picture the Husband sent me from the basement of the estate sale – looks promising, right? But, the results proved he was right!

CT adventures - Nov-Dec5

|And, here is the picture he texted me of his free treasure… that fabric! Yuck! But again, it turns out this was a great find, and I can’t say anything the next time he brings home two used tennis rackets or sweaty goalie gloves for middle schoolers…. you know, for someday.

CT adventures - Nov-DecI knew I didn’t want to invest a ton of time into these projects, and certainly not a lot of money. So, I started looking into chalk paint. A total craze that has taken the diy world by storm the last few years, I walked into a local shop and asked a few questions and looked at samples. After 5 mins, I was sure it was right for my projects: Lots of colors to choose from. No prep. Two coats of paint. Two coats of wax. Done.

The products stretch very far, and with two cans of Annie Sloan chalk paint in French Linen, two cans of Clear Wax, and a wax brush in-hand, I left the shop with all I needed to transform eight chairs and a table for just over $100 (and I have enough for another small project left over!)

CT adventures - Nov-Dec1

We quickly wiped down the pieces, and dove right in! The first coat didn’t seem to cover amazingly well, but the second coat was like magic! The ultra-matte paint looked beautiful, and was so easy to use. It dries in 15 min, and covers a multitude of sins. After drying, we used the clear wax – there is also a dark wax available to give a more antiqued look – and brushed it on with the round wax brush. A quick coat, applied in small sections, and wiped off immediately, is all it takes to give the piece a clean, durable finish. After drying for 24hrs, we repeated. And then, let it cure (while the construction in the kitchen was completed ;) 

Note: We did the MOST BASIC level of chalk painting, but the techniques are endless! Layering, gilding, distressing, you name it! Also, we did learn that is it possible to put on too much wax, especially on large surfaces like the table top. But, using more wax to “activate” the old, you can wipe off excess so you don’t get finger prints or shiny areas. 

CT adventures - Nov-Dec3


Between coats, we reupholstered the seats for the chairs. We chose two fabrics – a grey and white spotted for the dining room (which we reversed, because we liked the back side better!), and a white linen with silver metallic accents for the living room chairs.(This added about $100 to our project costs, bringing our total to $200 from start to finish – we used coupons at JoAnne’s and Hobby Lobby!).

The foam on the dining room chairs was in decent shape, so after removing the old fabric, we only needed to measure, cut and staple the new fabric over the seats (there are some great tutorials with hints and tips on youtube!). The accent chairs needed a little foam added to the underside to give some extra support, so with some tucking and stuffing, they ended up much more firm. After that, it was just the same procedure as the dining room – staple, pull tight, and carefully tuck those corners.

And so, with a little elbow grease, and no major tools or special talent needed, we went from yuck, to this!:

CT adventures - Nov-Dec4

|Serene and monochromatic is what we were going for…

CT adventures - Nov-Dec7…makes me relax just to look at it|

This was a fun, easy and rewarding project – I highly recommend trying it on a “junktique” piece of your own! Also, in case you were wondering, here is what our dining room looked like “before”…

Dining room

…”peachy”, right? We’re just getting started.

Throwback | diy holidays

Christmas sled

We found this vintage sled in the garage when we moved in – I knew it would be a perfect to add a little holiday spirit to our porch!

This holiday season has varied a little from our norm…

Usually, we’d be knee-deep in greenery and cookie baking by this time in December. But, this year, we have no place to put a Christmas tree yet because apparently it’s not super simple to renovate a 145-year-old kitchen, or something. And, obviously, cooking is hard when your new oven is still shrink-wrapped in the garage. So, my living room still looks like the pic below, but, with some help from my awesome mom who has been visiting (who, side-note, will paint your kitchen cabinets until 6am for you, and do your laundry…) at least the outside of the house is looking festive!

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The filter makes this pic look way more serene than it feels irl… But, the end of our sea of boxes is near!

Things are different, BUT, I’ve found comfort in some old and new traditions – some of which I’ve shared on FreshlyMinted in the past! And, a white-and-grey-and-butcher block-and-harringbone – and subway tile- rustic farmhouse kitchen is now totally within sight… so I can be patient a little longer ;)

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite throwback holiday posts and projects:

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Handmade Holiday | Rustic Boxwood Garland & Mini Wreaths, Newsprint Tree, Perfect Christmas Bow and Popcorn garland (I used holly for my garland this year – much more prickly, but just as lovely!)

Salt Dough | Gift Tags & Ornaments 

Secret Holiday Treats | Aunt J’s Top Secret Chocolate Mint Cookie Recipe

A Cookie-Swappers Daydream | Salted Mudslide Cookie Recipe

Enjoy!

“rahrighouse” projects|diy staircase refresh

Things around here are taking shape. Like this one single corner of our bedroom:

Master viewSlowly, but surely. Sometimes more slowly than surely. But we’re getting there!

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are in the midst of renovating a little 145-year-old house in coastal Connecticut. Much of the work we are having completed by (a really awesome, patient) contractor, but there are a few projects that, with the help of my amazing mom, the Husband and I are tackling ourselves. One of those with the biggest impact has been our staircase update!

Stairway before and after

When we moved in, the entire house had hardwood flooring, except a the carpeted  master bedroom, a small landing, and the staircase. It was horrid. So, project #1 was to pull it up. The stairs weren’t horrible, but they weren’t in great shape, either. We knew we didn’t want to completely overhaul them, but they needed something… so, painting it was!

After browsing for ideas, and chatting with our local Sherwin Williams, we chose our paint, grabbed wood filler and a sander, and started:

,m;wgr ef gkpojias]HTBEF ]

1| You can see the original state of the stairway. The wood was finished on the edges only, and wasn’t of high quality. And, that carpet…. woof.

2| After pulling up the carpet and nails, we washed the steps down with a vinegar solution. There were a lot of holes from this, and previous rounds of carpet, and the trim didn’t match along the bottom lip of the steps. We contemplated replacing the trim, but ultimately decided that after filling the gaps, we wouldn’t need to completely replace it.  This saved a lot of work, and we avoided having to find tools we didn’t have on hand. Like, anything but a hammer, screwdriver, and sander, tbh…

3| We sanded with a handheld sander, fine grit. Then, we went ahead and went crazy with the wood filler. Then, we sanded again. Finally, we wiped everything down with a slightly damp cloth to get rid of dust, and prep for paint.

4| We chose SW trim paint in Extra White, and SW Porch and Floor Enamel in Gauntlet Gray for the tops of the stairs – the same color we painted our master bedroom, and part of a very neutral gray palette used house-wide. After sanding and cleaning, we painted the white trim, and every-other step. We only have one staircase, and needed to be able to make it up and down throughout the day while each coat dried! We used a 2″ flat brush, and a 1.5″ angle brush, and a bit of painter’s tape came in handy…

5| We painted each step with two coats of paint, and let it dry thoroughly in-between. I am in LOVE with the finished product. What a difference! After more than a month of heavy use and lots of drywall dust and dirt, they’re holding up wonderfully :)

The stairs were one of the big reasons I fell in love with this house in the first place. You might have noticed a little something embedded in the rail:

stairs penny

It’s an “Indian Head” penny, dated 1899! When I saw it, my history-loving, American-girl-obsessed, authentic-costume-wearing-period-interpreter-in-high-school-self almost exploded. It’s just SO COOL! And now, it graces stairs fitting its historic cool-factor. And that makes me happy.

IMG_8863There are roughly 1,543 other projects in various stages of completion throughout the house, so there will be more updates to come. But, I cannot wait for the big kitchen/dining room/laundry room/bathroom reveal – fingers crossed it’ll be coming soon!

 

Big City Living | NYC tips & favorite things

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetSo, I used to post a lot of recipes. Currently, however, our master bedroom is serving as our kitchen  while most of our first floor is under construction. Though it is complete with mini fridge, microwave, toaster, panini press and espresso maker, even with all of these fabulous amenities, my cooking repertoire is limited, to say the least. So, the recipes will be coming…. but I’m gonna give it a few more weeks… (unless you want to know how to grill a sandwich without catching your bedroom curtains on fire. I’m pretty good at that. ).

In the meantime, as I eat cheese, crackers and apples for lunch again (totally under-rated, by the way. Like an adult lunchable, and who didn’t love those?!), I thought I’d share a few of our favorite things about our brief Big City life!


2015-02-08_1423417429We moved to Jersey City, NJ in freezing early February for a short-term assignment for the Husband’s job. In a small apartment in a tall building along Hudson river, there were a lot of adjustments to make.   Of course, having all of NYC literally at our feet for three months was pretty spectacular. But, there was a bit of a learning curve involved…

 

At first, I was frustrated. The sparkle of those famous lights was so near, but it was roughly -24 degrees, and I had a 9mo old and the trains were crazy, the Husband worked and had a long commute during the week, and I was sure I would only get to admire the sights from afar. Humph. But, after careful observation of the city-savvy parents that surrounded us (and watching every episode of Friends), we realized that the cold + baby + subway was not an impossibility. And, though the weeks were long, we filled every weekend to the brim. A challenge, yes, but a zillion people traversed the snow and crowds every day, little ones in tow, and we found that we could, too!

BedroomView2

Some of Our (more obscure) Favorite Spots

We visited Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Gardens, Grand Central Station, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, made lots of trips in and around Times Square, the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial, MoMA, Museum of Natural History, The New York Public Library, Bloomingdales, Macy’s  and dozens of other shops  and attractions that you already
know are gorgeous. But, here are a few less common stops that should be on your list!


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Hoboken | On the Jersey side, this spot is hopping! Yes, you can visit Carlo’s Bakery, but there are a ton of fun restaurants in this up-and-coming community on the banks of the Husdon. We loved this stroller-friendly biergarten! Tip: Jersey is a super quick ferry or train ride away from the city, and it can be far less expensive to stay on this side of the river if you’re planning a visit. You also get one-of-a-kind views of the city, and easy access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island! Quick Facts: Also Frank Sinatra’s birthplace, and the filming location for the classic movie, “On the Waterfront” starring Marlon Brando.

Jason BatemanTriBeCa | Short for the “Triangle below Canal street” we visited this area for the first time during the Tribeca Film Festival, and I fell in love! Perfect for celebrity sightings (like Jason Bateman –>) and ahhhhmazing brunch, strolling these streets make you just FEEL like you belong here and could totally make this city home, and have a “squad”, and walk to the gym in heels and stuff like that. Or, you could just go to Starbucks and people watch.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetUnder the PlazaThe Plaza itself is the kind of place that childhood dreams are made of… perched at the edge of central park, it’s everything that our Eloise books and Home Alone 2 told us it was. The Husband and I enjoyed drinks at the Palm Court on a date night, but the real hidden gem of the place is what’s under it! Perfect with kids, get a casual plaza experience with the dining options, and even pack a picnic to take to the park (like we did for T’s first birthday  – complete with cupcakes!).

2015-04-13_1428889454Momofoku Milk Bar | I had a LONG list of places we HAD to visit when in the city, and Milk Bar was near the top. And it deserved it. The cereal milk ice cream with cornflake topping is as good as they say, and the cookies and bars are even better. You just HAVE to go!Uniqlo | This shop is spreading like crazy, and is well-established on the East Coast and here in CT where we live now. But, for us midwesterners, it was awesome! Like a funky-industrial mix of the good parts of Gap, JCrew and H&M, their clothes are fun, functional, and perfectly priced. They have things for littles, too!

IMG_1186The Gansevoort Market | It’s a good idea to cruise instragram for fun locations to visit when you’re in a new spot. That’s how I discovered this gem! Etheral, historic and packed with good things to eat, this was a fun destination for casual lunch in a beautiful atmosphere!

 

 

 

2015-05-02_1430577185Bemelmans Bar | If you want to feel like you walked onto the set of Mad Men, this spot is a date night MUST. Nestled on the Upper East Side, and named for the artist that created it’s fabulous murals (the illustrator of the beloved Madeline books!), it’s just to die for. Tip: The King Cole Bar is another NYC classic with vintage vibes, and a secret hidden in its mural.

 

Honorable mentionsCheeky Sandwiches – Chicken and biscuits and ginger ale, thanks to the New York Gebert kids for introducing us :) | Eileen’s Special Cheesecake – The Husband doesn’t like cheesecake, so I bought him one and ate both. duh. | The Boathouse restaurant – A very popular spot in Central Park, but they have a less-busy causal outdoor area perfect for sitting with a glass of wine and a toddler!

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Tips & Tricks for Parents

Especially if you visit during the colder months, here are a few ideas for parents planning to visit NYC or any big city with a little one!

IMG_0396Rain cover + Bundle Me | Your stroller rain cover isn’t just for rain, and you have to buy one of these. No blankets falling off every five seconds, no howling wind, and all of the sudden our brunch date with friends when it was 12 degrees was on the table again… Titus and hundreds of other kids we saw each day were cozy for all-day city outings for months with this combo! This has been great for our new adventure here in CT, too. No need to stop enjoying long walks because of the weather!

IMG_0220Stairs + Strollers DO Mix | You’ve just gotta be ok with hauling your stroller up and down stairs for the subway. We were pretty appalled at the lack of accessible subway stations, and figured out quickly that to be efficient, you’ve just got to use the stairs. Though, you could call a cab and hold your child on your lap, and stow your stroller, it’s a lot of effort! We didn’t use a cab once when out with the baby, and never had any real issues. Baby wearing also helps, particularly if you’re trying to train solo!

IMG_1262Pack Small | I didn’t understand the concept of an “urban jungle” until we had this
experience. Dressing for the weather and the tired feet, plus packing the snacks and toys and diapers necessary for 6 hour day in the elements makes you look more prepared for an arctic expedition than a chic day in the city. BUT, everything in the city is tight – small restaurants, small sidewalks, crowded subway cars. We brought our big jogger stroller with us and didn’t touch it! We also opted for a backpack style
diaper bag, and a back carrier for museums. Anything that can be efficient and compact is a game changer (another reason the bundle me was so great)! It can be hard to do with littles, but economize any way you can.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBabies are babies, even in NYC | It’s ok to feed, change and tend to your baby virtually anywhere. We nursed and changed in museums, at sporting events, in restaurants, on busy streets and subway stations. There are WAY weirder things going on in the city. Trust me. Just go and see what you wanted, go and eat great food, and bring the baby along to (almost) everywhere with you.

At the end of our time in the city, we were ready for some of the more familiar comforts of home – a yard for the baby, peace and quiet, no crowds… but, we’ll always treasure our New York adventures! And fortunately, our new home is just about an hour away! So, if you’re making a trip to NYC, give us a call. We’d love to have a reason to visit some of these amazing spots again, or try something new :)

freshlyminted… again

I thought I had outgrown this name.

No longer a newlywed, not a new homeowner, settled into my career and comfortable in the kitchen, things were pleasantly busy and routine. I wasn’t really a “freshly minted” anything…

And then this happened:

Baby T

And we moved here for a bit:

NYC views

And now we’re living here, and bought a really old house:

Milford, CT - Lower Duck Pond

And nothing is the same, so it’s time to write again.

___

We welcomed Titus in April of 2014, I left a job I loved in January of 2015, and we moved to Jersey City, NJ for four months early this year and soaked up NYC. Then, we lived like nomads between states for about six months, and had some family adventures along the way. Now, we are the new owners of a not-so-new 145-year-old house in costal Connecticut that totally captured my history-loving self the moment we walked in the door. But it needed a little TLC…

So, yep. Not a lot is the same…

The Husband works really hard. And Titus and mama hang out together. A lot. And we’re learning how to renovate a sweet but tired house, live 10 hours from grandmas, explore New England, cook again, make new friends, and how to be a family in the midst of change.

Not my forte. But it’s starting to be.

So, if you’d like, stay tuned. I’m gonna write about my (re) freshlyminted life.