Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Nope.  No exciting announcements.  (As if the blog is the place we’d first announce a dream in the oven?!)

Just another little Then & Now action for you… the Dream Family room.  As we’ve mentioned before, the family room is an extension of our kitchen – a lovely feature that was on our “must” list while Dream shopping.  We’ve already told you how we had a design challenge on our hands with our color schemes and how we’ve tied the rooms together with some A-list-Pottery-Barn-esque fabric.  So, here is what we were working with…




Everything is different, except for the flooring.  Which wasn’t hard because the house was empty and the walls were white!  The hubs did a great job installing a new ceiling fan that actually matches our decor…

you can see the box valances found their way into this room as well...

ah, yes, the cork collection grows. but do you notice anything different?

We opted to switch out the white frames you previously saw for brown so these photos tie in better with…

this collection of photos from our France trip that flank our tv

All of these frames are from Ikea — steals for $5 (5×7) and $10 (8×10).  We’re sticklers for cohesiveness and flow… while these may not be the best quality, nobody’s going to get too close… they perfectly serve their purpose for now.

And now for the rest of the highlights:

cozy chair in the corner with a "Mrs. Dreamer" original pillow - same fabric as the valances

There’s still a lot to do…

  • Clearly, we’re in need of a “real” coffee table!
  • We’d love to put an area rug under said coffee table – but two smelly, drooly Bulldogs make that seem unlikely
  • Eventually, we’ll replace the off-white leather (hand-me-downs-of-which-we-are-so-grateful) furniture with brown leather — easier to keep clean and will better match our aesthetic tastes
  • Next up: painting the ceilings the same color as the walls (Colonial Buff by Sherwin Williams) and adding CROWN MOLDING!  Can’t wait!  We think that’s going to take the room to a whole new level.

We did not pay full price for ONE thing in this room (YAY!). Most of it we had before and moved with us into the Dream, but here’s a rundown so you can see where we spend our time NOT paying full price:

  • Couch, love seat, chair, ottoman – hand-me-downs from the parents
  • Media cabinet – consignment store (My Sister’s Attic)
  • TV – gift
  • Bar – Craig’s List
  • Lamps by couch – from a woman who is dealer for a big-furniture-chain – she advertised on Craig’s List and now we’re on her “list” (!)  More exciting finds to come from that… 🙂
  • Lamp behind chair – we’ve had the stand forever, but scored a new shade at a charity auction for $5
  • C&B Wicker side table – charity auction (retails for $90, we got it for $12)
  • Tile side table – My Sister’s Attic
  • Frames – Ikea
  • Photos in frames – taken ourselves on our trip to France
  • Clock – Holland Boone, using a gift certificate from our wedding
  • Globe – Marshall’s/Home Goods
  • Black vases – Costco (with a coupon)
  • Throw – TJ Maxx
  • Pillow – self-made
  • Valance – self-made
  • Blinds – Home Depot (with coupon)
  • Curtains and rod – Ikea

Oh yeah, we feel g-o-o-d about that!

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Like most foreclosed homes, ours came sans appliances.  Well, it did have “appliances” – that we’re pretty sure the bank found along the curb on bulk trash day and threw them in so the kitchen appeared “applianced.”  We were not fooled and promptly purchased new kitchen appliances.  However, there was one pesky “mini-appliance” that had to wait.  The garbage disposal.

Have you ever lived without a garbage disposal?  We don’t recommend it.  But, for the last five months, we’ve survived.  Not anymore.

Cue: McDreamy…

inspecting the first of many instruction sheets

a curious bulldog assesses the "before"

Here is where we get really vulnerable with you.  Our kitchen was a DISASTER throughout the duration of this project.  First up, the contents of our under-the-sink cabinet:

how does all this stuff fit under there anyway?!

After “prepping” the area, Mr. Dreamer went to work switching the pipes so the new garbage disposal could be under the right sink – something Mrs. Dreamer really wanted, but cannot explain why.

no pipes - just a gaping hole, but that's a good thing at this point

with a little more fanagling... amidst the mess...

the drain is switched! brilliant!

Now, we ready for it…

the holy grail of garbage disposals.

If you have to install one yourself – you might as well go for the gold.

which is exactly what McDreamy did!

and that's reason to celebrate. cheers!

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We are happy to report that Christmas dinner at the Dream was a success!


We hosted our parents and served up a healthy dose of Boeuf Bourguignon.  It was our first attempt at making that dish – something we savored while traveling through the Bourgogne wine region in France this summer.  We were able to host Christmas dinner — our first in the Dream — thanks to our new table!  We’ve had our eye on the Napa dining table from Cost Plus World Market for months.  We pulled the trigger after getting a 25% coupon via email — while it was already on sale!  Score.

Our Christmas dinner adventure started on 12/24…

raw meat. lovely.

we chopped the meat into 2-inch cubes and set aside the grizzle for a pup treat later... because...

...raw meat may seem gross to you... but our pups drool over it (literally!). don't worry, we'll cook the meat before they get it.

next up: veggies, spices and wine (from the Bourgogne region, of course!)

we chopped up the veggies and added them to the meat

then we added the best part... the wine! we let this mixture marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.

While this fine concoction marinates… we enjoy…

...Christmas morning!

carrying on the Christmas quiche tradition in the Dream

bowdoin found what santa brought him (paris slept in, smart girl)

After opening some fabulous presents – that may or may not involve improving the Dream (!)… we were back at work…

our marinated concoction must be separated... into three parts...

veggies... marinade... meat.

now we have to put a bunch of stuff in our new dutch oven... cook it... take it out... cook something else... take it out... you get the picture... so we'll save you all the pictures (but yes, we took them). this is us cooking bacon and leaving behind the fat. YUM!

so much yumminess in one 7-quart pot

We leave that to set while we take off for another Christmas tradition…

a hike! clearly, we are not the only people with this tradition.

this is Christmas in Arizona, folks. awesome.

After burning a few calories… it was time to go home and EAT!

before our guests arrive... we set the table...

...get the hors de'voures and champagne ready...

bon appetit! (how much do you love the name cards? srsly.)

after filling our bellies... it's present (and family photo) time... consider this the before...

...and this the after! kinda messy for 6 adults and 2 dogs... but what will it look like when mini-dreamers are running around?! yikes.

So, that was our Christmas Day 2009.  Thanks for “sharing” it with us!  Now, we’re off to get ready for our NYE party.  We love having a house to entertain in!  HAPPY 2010!

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A Dream Find!

We are (almost) ready for our Open Dream Party tonight. 70+ said “Yes!” to our invite and we excited to show off the Dream. One area that still needs some love and attention is our master suite. Since we decided to first focus on the Dream’s common areas… kitchen, family room, guest bath… our room got pushed back to the “B” list. But, while picking up some last minute things, we stumbled upon the cute candles below – half-off at Kohl’s! Aren’t they great? Unfortunately, they didn’t have our last name letter, but we did score our first names!

We love the simplicity… black type, white background, and that zing of a silver rim. They give off just the classy touch we need to prove that yes, indeed our master suite is on the Dream radar! (We’ll have to show off the after at the next party.) And… they smell fantastic — creamy cashmere? — didn’t know you could make wool creamy or scented… but we love it.

Seriously, people these are less than $6 on sale right now. Run… RUN! (Unfortunately, we couldn’t find them online or we would put the link – just look on the sale rack in the candle section!) Another post & photo from the iPhone… God bless technology!

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As we’ve said previously, we are focusing our efforts on the common areas of our dream.  That means the kitchen and family room are getting a lot of love right now.  The dining and living rooms must be incredibly jealous.

Our kitchen and family room adjoin — so they’re basically one big room.  And that’s exactly what we want it to feel like.  However, as you’ll see in future posts, the kitchen is light and bright, the family room is more subdued with darker colors.  We needed to tie it all together somehow — and fabric is the answer.  Fabric for valances, dish towels, table runners, placemats, napkins, aprons, pillows, drape panels, quilt, stretched frames, shower curtain, bed spread… uhh… now we’re getting a little carried away.  Okay, just a nice fabric that we could put in key spots (without overdoing it) to tie the two rooms together.  In Style magazine June 2008 gave me the perfect answer:

Schumaker's Chiang Ming Dragon

Schumaker's Chiang Mai Dragon

She’s gorgeous!  I heart her.  She is so out of my league.  This was from a spread on actress Kristen Bell’s house.  A quick Google search prooved that this fabric is so fab, everyone is dreaming about it.  Your best chance of getting it is to stalk Ebay like a drunk ex-girlfriend e-stalking her former lover.  Not happenin’.  I am happily married, thank you.

So, with ripped out magazine photo’s in tow, I set out fabric searching with a pro:



After measuring (thrice!) our three target windows,

This montrosity is 5'x6'!

This montrosity is 6'x5'!

We set out on quite the trek.   My mom is an artist, not prone to organizational skills.  However, she proved me wrong (and spoke my language) on this day.  Bringing with her an intinary:

On the list: six home fabric stores!
First, we gotta fuel up for the day…

In all, we visited seven fabric stores that day and literally saw thousands of options.

So many options...

Where do you start?

One of these made the short list... can you spot it?

One of these made the short list... can you spot it?

Having Chiang Mai Dragon in mind helped tremendously.  We were able to whip in (and out) of many of those stores fast if I didn’t see something close to my beloved unattainable dream fabric. By the end of day one of fabric searching, I took home two samples.  (Both from the first store. Cue: rolling of the eyes.)

Option 1

Option 1

Option 2

Option 2

The samples from these two beauties sat taped to our dream’s walls for a week.  Something was not quite right.  Option #2 was too dark for the light and bright kitchen.  Option #1 was too white for the darker and subdued family room.  So, I set out again – venturing to three more fabric stores.  At the last stop, store #10, I spotted her.  It was love at first sight.

EHarmony couldn't have matched this better.

e-Harmony couldn't have matched this better.

And there she is.  No dragons are involved, but she is sassy and classy.  (And very “Pottery Barn” – I do a double take every time I see a photo of PB’s Deirdre design.)  We love her.  Even better, she was on sale — 20% off, and she was a housewarming gift.  So, now 13 yards of this free-to-us fabric dream sits rolled up in the corner.  Ready to be transformed into 3 valances, several pillows, 1 table runner, 1 shower curtain and many future blog posts.

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