rahrighouse projects | open concept + dream kitchen

When I look at original photos of our house, I can’t help but wonder a few things: Why all the piiiinkkkk? Wallpaper on the ceiling??? And, what the HECK were we thinking?!?

Built in 1870, and loved by the same family for the 55 years before we moved in, this house took vision. We crossed the threshold with a one year old in-arms, 10 hours away from everything and everyone we knew. It took literal blood, sweat, tears,  and planning and working until all hours of the night, at times. But, we had fallen in love! In love with the history of this house, and this town, and I have to say that adoring my space every day has made it worth it. SO worth it.


So, it’s been long enough coming – here’s what we were working’ with:

The Kitchen

Wallpaper on the ceiling, laminate flooring, dark and small…

The Dining Room

Pink and closed-off and…pink

The Living Room

Pink. Just, pink.

Besides the kitchen, dining room and living room, we also remodeled a laundry room, mudroom, pantry and half bath. It wasn’t a small project – it took nine weeks of washing dishes in the bathtub upstairs and cooking paninis and easy mac in the master bedroom. But, bit by bit, magic happened…

HUGE shout-out to my amazing, hard-working mom, who probably worked harder on our home that we did… We couldn’t have done it without her!

We worked with an amazing contractor, who understood our goals and our budget, and who  – most importantly – creatively tackled the project with an understanding of what it takes to work with the quirks of an antique home. 

They completed the bulk of the work, but we took on painting, and rehabbing the cabinetry (thanks, mom!

We were very fortunate that we didn’t come across anything  unexpected – whew! It was slow, tedious work at times, but I think the results surprised everyone…

**Angels. Literally. Singing.**


The Kitchen & Dining Room

I knew I was picking elements that I liked – my pinterest boards had been out. of. control. for weeks throughout the project, of course – but, I was floored when things actually came together! And, the LIGHT! What a change!

Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room allowed us to have the open concept that we wanted, and add a “peninsula” with extra cabinetry and bar seating!

The outdated decorative woodwork above the sink was replaced with more modern trim, and the bottom bank of cabinets were replaced. We were able to paint the cabinets above to match the new cabinetry, and reuse the vintage hardware. The pantry/laundry room was enclosed, and washer/dryer were stacked. A new counter-depth refrigerator now stands where the stove used to sit.

Our new stove, hood, open shelving and cabinetry replaced the small breakfast nook, and allows much more counter space for food preparation and storage. The addition of canned lighting replaced the single hanging light in the original kitchen, and did wonders!

Our “waterfall”-style butcher-block countertops came from Ikea – I ADORE THEM. We read lots of reviews before purchasing, and made sure we understood the care and upkeep required (it’s not much!), and after a year of use, I can say they look just a lovely as the day they were installed! I would recommend them to anyone, and you simply cannot beat the price.

Our farmhouse sink and fixtures, as well as our cabinet pulls, are from Ikea as well. At a fraction of the price of other options, again, I cannot say enough how much we love their look AND function!

We chose simple white subway tile with a light grout for our backsplash- stylish and cost-effective! And, we chose a dark grey 12″ x 24″ tile laid in a herringbone pattern for our new floor. It used a bit more tile, and took a bit more time to achieve the look I had fallen in love with, but I think it truly made the room look unique and customized.

Our appliances are Maytag  – the industrial look of the handles sold me! And, though we went back-and-forth a TON, we would’t trade our counter-depth refrigerator for anything! The low profile made such a difference in the design.

I also had fun with the little details. The vintage scale we found in the old pantry when we moved into the house (!), and the chandelier was a fun on-sale find at West Elm. The little hidden bar cabinet is original to the kitchen, and one of The Husband’s favorite parts of the house ;) Painted robin’s egg blue on the inside, it’s certainly a bright spot! Other favs: Bar stools from home goods, the seafoam green pitcher from my great-grandmother, our Nespresso machine, and those Kate Spade arrow salt and pepper shakers :)


The Pantry, Mud Room & Bathroom

This  back stairwell was blocked off at the ceiling long before we bought the house, and the previous homeowners used it as a makeshift pantry. But, with the addition of cabinetry and a GORGEOUS marble countertop (thanks, Amazing Space!), we now have a butler-style pantry that is perfect for entertaining, and a really fun feature!

In the same area, we have a half-bath. Originally, it was very small – a built-in in the dining room and a storage closet made it too tiny even for a standard-sized vanity! But, knocking out, a getting rid of the cray green tile let us open it up to match the flow of the rest of the house. I love the penny tile, and curtain I made from fabric from Ikea.


The Living Room

We were fortunate that the living room was already open to the dining room, and featured five BIG windows. In here, a little paint and curtains went a longgg way.

Ripping up the carpet and painting the stairs made a big difference to the entry as well. And, thanks to Amazing Space, the removal of the wall and addition of the glass railing and loft change the whole character of the house!

A big difference, huh? A little imagination and a lot of hard work made this house into our home, and we are so proud that we were able to add our own chapter to its long history…


Well, we’re glad it’s done, and we have thoroughly enjoyed living in this space, in this house, in this neighborhood, and in this state for the last two years. But, believe it or not, the Rahrigs are actually getting ready to embark on another adventure!

In the next few months, we are trading in our snow shovels for palm trees, and will be moving to Tampa, Florida! Yes, this move is coming a little quicker than anticipated, and I have already cried over leaving my pretty little kitchen more than I would like to admit. But, we feel that this is an amazing opportunity for our family, and we pray that the Connecticut “rahrighouse” will bless and bring joy to another little family just as it did to us!

We would LOVE your prayers as we embark on the search for another rahrighouse… Florida sunshine edition!


Style Notes & Sources:

Paint colors

  • Living room, Kitchen and Dining Room: Sherwin Williams, Repose Gray
  • Mudroom: SW, Dorian Gray
  • Bathroom: SW, Eider White
  • Inside of bar cabinet, laundry room, pantry: SW, Sea Salt
  • Cabinetry: SW, Eider White
  • Stairs: SW, Gauntlet Gray
  • Trim: SW, Extra White

Kitchen/Dining Room

Bathroom

  • Vanity: Home Depot
  • Mirror: Ikea
  • Towel bar and flower pot: Ikea
  • Lighting: Ikea
  • Tile: Lowes

Mudroom

  • Lighting: Ikea
  • Cabinetry: Lowes, unfinished

Living Room

See my other rahrighouse posts here!

Questions? Let me know! I am happy to answer them!

goodbye, sweet little kitchen!

 

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rahrighouse projects | sun porch “glow-up”

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our snowy wonderland a few weeks ago

Ahhhh – sunshine. This time of year I LONG for it. Winter has hit that it-feels-like-it-will-never-end point, the snow has been on the ground for weeks, and we are ready to thaw!

Fortunately, there is one particular spot in the house that provides a little respite from the cold, and, it’s one of the Husband’s favorite spots in the house – our little sun porch!


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last winter, looking out on the frosty yard

 

The moment we walked through the house, we knew this room had promise – what a unique space! But, we were still so pleasantly surprised at how lovely it turned out. With interchangeable screen and glass panels, it’s cozy on sunny winter days, and breezy on summer nights.

 

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family reading time

The previous owners had a “thing” for pastels, and made the floor into a unique and slightly unconventional canvas… In short, it was very nice for them, I am sure. However, we weren’t feeling’ it. Yes, it looks like a pleasant spot for a nice iced tea, but it was a little colorful, a little kitschy, a little cluttered…

 

But, not for long!

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great for painting!

With some leftover paint, a trip or two to Ikea (of course!) and some digging through the decor we already happened to have on hand – or even found in the old garage at the house – things came together quickly… especially after that floor was toned down a notch or two!

 

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Now, this cozy spot provides an entertainment space, book reading haven, and an extra toddler play area (that requires no shoes, and less hosing down afterwards than an hour digging in the garden ;) And, you could still comfortably sip some tea, or a nice malbec, with your friends!

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Another view: This door opens from our kitchen, and the porch leads to our back yard and gardens. I love to leave it open  – so breezy!

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Details: 

  • Wall decor: Crate & Barrel candle holder, painted.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset Vintage tennis racket, found in the neighbors trash, buoys, purchased at a marine salvage in Mystic, CT
  • Trim paint: Sherwin Williams “Sea Salt”, the perfect subtle blue/green
  • Curtains and hardware: LENDA, Ikea
  • Furniture: Estate sale, repainted black. Cushions, Ikea. Antique hutch holds items found at the house.
  • Rug: Ikea, the same style as the one in our master bedroom

image2There is barely a corner of the house that we haven’t changed or fussed with or painted or spruced, and I have a few more projects to show you before you’ve got the whole picture ;) It’s been fun, and challenging and rewarding – and we’ve learned a LOT along the way! Always feel free to ask any questions you might have (and stop visit if you’re ever out this way!)

Cheers to spring around the corner!

rahrighouse projects | behind the scenes

Hey, all! It’s been a few months, but now that the literal dust has settled on our Amazing Space project, the show has aired, (AND, the series was officially picked up!) I wanted to share a little more about our home renovation!

Wow – what a whirlwind!

We have to say that even though Connecticut is far away from lots of our friends and family, we have felt SO loved through this process! It was an amazing experience to have the opportunity to have our home renovated, and get those 15 (okay, maybe 22 minutes….) of fame, but it has also been a blast to talk about the project with our friends and neighbors, new and old, near and far.

| T enjoying the filming equipment! |

(The local media in Milford picked up “our story”, and it was shared more than 100 times, with more than 200 “likes”, and this little blog almost doubled it previous readership record!)

So, particularly because it is snowy and cold outside, I am excited to share a few warmer-weather throwback “behind the scenes” pictures, and to show you more of our renovations in future posts!


Focused on our second floor (and now THIRD floor loft!) Amazing Space truly transformed our home. A rather dark sitting room – painted spring green when we moved in, and with no distinct function – now is a bright, airy focal point of our home!

rahrighouse-before-after2

Left: The sitting room when we moved-in Center: Sitting room before renovation Right: Sitting room after HGTV magic!

And, a largely unused walk-up attic, magically has become the cheeriest spot in the house! An office space, desk for our little one, a hidden bed/reading nook AND the most lovely fairy-tale-esque spiral staircase you can imagine.

rahrighouse-before-after1

BUT: The BEST thing about Amazing Space, besides the actual space that was amazing, of course, were the folks we got to work with…

|The Husband, Producer Mark Philips, Host Eric Griffin and I on “Reveal Day” |

They made the process – though the dust and mess and some stress is inherent – streamlined and enjoyable! Even with the time crunch of filming, and the pressure of making a great first show, they were considerate of our family, our home, and our tastes.

| a new little chair for T!|Donna, of Donna Benedetto Designs was our amazing
designer – the decor she chose for our new space flowed seamlessly (with a little added flair!) with the rest of our home. A detail I LOVE that they didn’t show was the little chair that Donna hand painted for T! It was in the house when we moved – another treasure from a different era.

 

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset IMG_2640Denis, of Guiltec Development,  was our contractor, and his attention to detail still astounds me. His company has specialized in historic and reclaimed spaces, and he was in his element! Throughout the entire project, his team was efficient, and went above and beyond in a million ways.

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| Vintage rail finishes, meticulously matched by our construction team |

Some of my favorite details: The wainscoting in the loft, the rail finishes that were matched to the original in the second story (apparently a funky, old method that

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|Storage view |

they’re going to try in future projects, as well!), and the sliding door made of the original flooring from the attic! Also, the Irish accent. Of course.

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| Our sliding barn door and bed “nook” made from the antique flooring of the original attic |

Steven, of Keedle and Lee Architects, who also had an amazing  – British, this time – accent, by the way, was also fantastic! He and his team had wonderful ideas, and made us feel so secure that all decisions that were made were the right ones for our family, and our home. And, his illustrations and animations of the house were so fun, too! He answered a million questions, and worked tirelessly to find creative solutions to our home’s unique space needs.

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|Hudie and Ricky watch filming taking place in the yard from our kitchen|

And, of course, the show’s host, Eric Griffin, who not only knocked on our door and handed us this amazing opportunity, but who also pioneered the idea of the loft and spiral staircase! Producer, Mark and Hudie of MPPT and his team, who came from L.A. to take a chance on our home, and with their impressive resume of television successes and endless creativity, made Amazing Space a hit! And, Rick of NYLAC, who made most of the magic happen behind the camera (and drone!) and whose chill attitude made even stressful filming a breeze. And finally, head production assistant, Eric Mathis, who handled every scheduling detail, on-camera cue and the no-so-easy task of walking two newbies through what it takes to make a successful tv show. These guys, and every other person that walked through the door were truly great people. Even during the early mornings, or when it was 90 degrees outside, or when the ceiling fell down faster than anticipated… We couldn’t have asked for a better group to have in our home!

We are so happy that we were able to be a part of the birth of a new series, and look forward to watching coming episodes! Our home has truly felt complete since this project was finished, and our space makes me smile every time I walk into the room – no joke!


In the coming weeks, I hope to show a few more details of our other home renovations, including our big kitchen project, and even more before-and-afters… ’cause everyone loves a good before-and-after ;)

rahrighouse-before-after

 

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!

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|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!