Fresh Home Table and Thailand Send-Off Party!

Becky was visiting on her way from Boston to Thailand this week and we cleaned up the backyard for a going away shindig for her and to celebrate the new backyard! Sarah B also came to visit, but more on that later. I got a cute outdoor tablecloth from Target on sale that matches the benches to the table. Love it. Also love the table and benches that are made from the plans in the summer edition of Fresh Home magazine.
Becky and I posed for some photos before the party as we relaxed for the afternoon with lemonade and design magazines (along with an Economist that neither of us read!). Oh I love these gorgeous warm fall afternoons here!


Pebble Beach, Monterrey and Guests!

Despite the patio makeover, which is still going on, I've had a little bit of time to chill out, relax in the end of summer California weather, and entertain a few guests in the new home. Last week I took a quick day roadtrip with Brentan and my grandparents to Monterrey and saw a few things...

Brentan had a good time exploring old buildings.
Grandpa caught a giant sea squid.
We had lunch at the Pebble Beach golf course, and watched people as they finished the 18th hole.
And I saw giant dahlias...
and giant cacti, as inspiration for the garden!

Sarah came to visit this week and we had a delightful time picnicking, exploring, pretending we were undergrads again, and meeting up with old friends. Pictures to come as soon as she sends them to me!


Pretty Patio and Pergola PLUS Picnic Table

Brentan is finishing up the pergola on the patio right now as I sit here and blog! He started a few days ago, sawing and drilling, and now we have a beautiful, California, redwood pergola, that seems ubiquitous in our neighborhood. After deciding to put one in, I started noticing them everywhere, even at the gas station down the street. It is going to provide some much needed shade in our backyard! It is still not quite finished, as I said before, but you can see the results.

In process:
And mostly finished!
We're looking for some cute, durable, cheap lights to hang around the pergola (since Brentan hard wired it for electricity, of course), so if you have any suggestions, please tell me!

You might also notice these cute built in planters that Brentan made all by himself:

I love them, and the colorful poppies and snapdragons he picked out for them! (I also love him, because he made me a pergola, AND a picnic table)

A picnic table for the patio is still in the works, mostly because I haven't had time to finish painting/staining it, and it was RAINING here for the last few days. From all that I've heard, rain in September in San Francisco is unheard of. But here is the table and benches in progress, they will eventually be a blue-aqua color on the base ("Wipeout"), and natural color stained redwood on top. More to come...
Also! We put up these cute mid-century house numbers to go with our mid-century house:
Also! You might want to know what we decided on the carpet! We dumped Home Depot, and went with the large carpet store. We managed to talk the sales guy down to only $300 above Home Depot, and we will get much better installation, continuing service, and product. I'm really happy about it. Installation in about 2 weeks!


Spotlight on the Kitchen

Kimba over at A Soft Place to Land has picked my kitchen redo as one of her favorites in her weekly Do It Your Day posts! I am so honored to be picked, and thanks for the many comments on my blog! I posted a comment attached to that post, but thought I would reiterate what I wrote here:

My husband and I did all the work on the kitchen project, without the help of professionals. Just to clarify a few things on what changed:
-Primed and painted the cabinets white
-Tore out a tile counter top and replaced it with one from Ikea
-Retiled the backsplash with white subway tile
-Installed under cabinet lighting from Ikea
-Painted the walls green

And we did it all for about $1000. Saved so much by doing it ourselves!


Guests! and hating Home Depot and Lowes carpet

As of yesterday our house looked like this:

But now it is all clean because we have our first guests visiting tomorrow! My grandparents are coming from Connecticut to visit us and go to a Bar Mitzvah in Palo Alto. So they get a nice, freshly painted room, with new (to us) furniture, thanks to my friend Kate! Here is the "Before" of the guest bedroom:With our mess in it:

And the "After":

Like always, it needs a little more personalization, so this isn't the complete after. In fact, Brentan and I went shopping yesterday for new carpet for the bedrooms and hallway. So it will look even nicer in a few weeks when we have it installed! I really hate Home Depot and Lowes right now for their service on carpet. Brentan and I first went to a few carpet stores where the people knew everything about the carpet, installation, and anything we want to know. At Lowes, they tell us it is about $40 just to get a non-refundable measurement and quote, and we walk out. The carpet stores don't charge anything. At Home Depot, the woman there tells us it is a $50 measurement. Plus, she doesn't even work in the carpet section and doesn't know a thing about the carpets. Not a thing. So half of me wants to go with a carpet specialist and get great service, and the other half says we are on a tight budget and the only thing we can afford is Home Depot carpet and installation despite the crappy service. A guy from the carpet store is coming on Tuesday to measure (for free!), so we'll see if we can talk him down a bit, and maybe save $500 from his quote. Always the dilemna... expensive specialists, or cheap big box stores.
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