styleberry BLOG » where pretty meets practical

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Well, HELLO FRIENDS! I hope you are all enjoying FALL, wherever in the world you may be! It’s still near ninety here in Texas…and after seven Octobers here, you’d think I’d learn to expect it–but it never feels normal!

Life has been the good kind of busy. I seem to be one of those people who functions best while managing a zillion things. Nothing will set me into a tizzy more than having nothing to do. So I am thoroughly enjoying the opposite of boredom: wild creative stimulation. :)

I have been managing a quite a few client projects, from color consulting to renovation consulting and making spaces pretty in-between. & since I am still limiting my work hours to when my children are in school, this leaves little time for doing anything blog related, as computer time is spent working and managing the business end of things. I have been using Instagram as a microblogging platform, so you can always keep up with the current happenings & eye candy there!

This is an important week in my new life history. One year ago today I walked into the Estate Sale that would change my life. (Of course, this is also the week after I told my realtor that I wouldn’t step foot in “that ugly house” because I couldn’t imagine there was as single thing I’d like inside.) Some lessons you learn the hard way! But this dream of a story has unfolded before my eyes and every last bit has helped me create the ending (or beginning!) that I’d always just knew would be my reality someday. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for this crazy series of life events and opportunity to transition from my project into a job that I love.

In case you haven’t been on Instagram in a while, this series is a peek at some of current details from my own renovation project! I am starting to put nails in walls & the place is coming together! I still don’t have closet doors…but that will happen eventually. My client projects are getting more attention than my own house, but one corner at a time, it’s beginning to feel more like home. Many of these snippets already feel outdated, as I like to change things daily!

Wait. Woah. Can we just pause for a sec and celebrate this before and after:

As you can see, I haven’t yet styled the space but GOSH! What a difference a year makes! :) Shooting this space with my big camera is going to be so fun! Sometimes it’s so easy to only focus on how far I have left to go. But celebrating the progress is such an important part of renovation. Perfect doesn’t happen overnight (or ever)…and also…budgets aren’t limitless! Finding joy in progress is EVERYTHING!

OK..back to the #renobystyleberry tidbits…

& on another note, those of you who still pop in here know that much of this blog hasn’t been touched of the last several years. While I still love the overall aesthetic, I have spent some time thinking about what it will evolve into, yet again. While my current work is taking me exactly where I want it to go (less computer, more face to face) an online presence is important, and I want to have a good landing spot for all things Styleberry Creative, especially the low fuss, high function interiors I am focusing on through my current work. I have partnered with a creative agency that is helping me clean up my digital footprint and create a landing place for my interiors work. Waving my flag! I can no longer do it all, all by myself!! Here is a peek at my other, other, other project:

I am so excited about it. & still have a lot of work to do before it goes live (like not use the icon of a man on my website…!), but it’s progress. & Progress is the goal. :)

For those of you who have been here consistently or inconsistently, always cheering me on, thank you. Your support over the years means so much to me! I love having a warm, encouraging online community in my corner and I hope that I can continue to be that for you as well.


Well friends. If you have been following along on this adventure, you know we have moved in to our Renovation Project. (!!!) We are now two months behind the scheduled project end date and have moved into a house that is far from complete–but the time came. We got out of the lease on our rental property and we were more than ready. My house is still crawling with guys finishing up the tedious details, but we’re close. I think. :)

I have learned so much about renovation during this process. As frustrated as I have been with vendor delays after vendor delays, I love this house. LOVE. The way the light shines through the front windows (still so glad I chose to do the original four!). The way my family is happily engaged in their own activity, in their own corner of the space. We are amongst one another, yet not on top of each other.

I can’t wait to get out my big camera and share some highly detailed images with you with appropriate color corrections, but for now–Instagram/iPhone images are quick & easy, so that is what you get! :)

The biggest change of all has been my kitchen workspace. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s bright and has become a place I want to be. No more dark and gloomy isolated kitchen. I can cook and prep, empty the dishwasher and wash dishes all while carrying on a conversation across from my kids. This has been the piece that has been missing for my family. I talked before about function & how much that impacted us in our rental home–and as I had suspected, all the tension around dinnertime has melted away now that we can all still be engaged with one another during this often stressful time of day.

I designed a loft to compensate for my son’s small bedroom. He got the short of the stick when it came to bedrooms & I wanted to do something special for him. Poor second child always gets the hand me downs. Not this time! I had this idea for a floating loft (wide enough for a queen size bed!) and it may be the best feature of this house. My kids love it and play together up there non-stop! It’s been a pirate ship, the titanic, a battleship with cannons. Imagination station.

We are still very much living in dust and I have been hesitant to pull too much out to decorate. Just the essentials. But even the essentials are pretty!

Our bright & airy playroom is coming along & I am refraining from adding much to it. I like to give my kids a lot of open space to play and create and when I create this space for them, they use it. I am currently working on filling those bookshelves and dreaming up all the ideas I have for this playing + creating + learning space!

All of my fixtures are up and the appliances are in! We are loving the open concept here. The light is amazing and the flow works so well! I cannot find the can of Scotchguard that I put in that “perfect place” so I wouldn’t lose it…so I am excited to find it & treat the fabric stools there by the countertop. :)

I love the look of leaded glass from turn of the century kitchens & knew that I wanted something special in this kitchen. Clear glass is beautiful but with our living space so close to our kitchen, I was mindful of keeping it airy & open, but still keeping the plates and pillows in their own zone. This keeps the feel of glass cabinets but created just a but of a barrier between my kitchen cabinets and couch. I also opted for latch hardware on these cabinets for that same classic feel.

Complication after complication has kept us all confined to using just one bathroom right now. At least it is super cute!! The kids bathroom is really, really functional and I have tried to make all the necessary details and accents coordinate just so, to keep the cute factor high. :) Kids spaces are my FAVE.

The color looks green in this picture, but it is not. This is my favorite warm Stonington Gray (same as in Everett’s nursery!) that I used in a lot of spaces throughout this house.

Having a true mudroom is changing my life!! We haven’t had a true drop zone, ever. By carving out this nook & removing a doorway in this space we have a “first stop” coming in the house which has corralled a lot of our mess. It’s on the way in & out and is just perfect for our traffic flow. I can’t wait to share how I reworked this space to make it work for us!

After years & years living with a broken table that worked, but not quite right–I finally found the replacement!! AHH! I hope to add a bench on the window side in the near future, when I find just the right one. But I found this one-of-a-kind farmhouse table at a local shop and it’s just perfect here!
I have gone back and forth about what to do about window coverings in this house. Such a big decision, and a pricy one when you have a lot of massive windows. (not complaining!! Except with window covering estimate in hand!!) I have always been a curtain gal, so even if I added something over the actual window, I would still add curtains to most of the windows in this space. & I am also a light addict who loves unobstructed windows. So I tinkered with the idea of woven shades and roller shades. I am not a blinds gal, as I don’t like to clean them & don’t like that they obstruct a view. We may resort to them in a couple of rooms that actually need to be darkened on our bright summer nights, but for now–I am just doing curtains. I stumbled upon a couple of different beauties at Anthro & was able to use a sale coupon code to get them waaaay cheaper than the estimate for custom window coverings, which made me feel better about the splurge. But this ikat!! AHH! Obsessed.

The major attention right now is on the exterior of the house. Since I last wrote, I have experimented and fallen in love with this Lime Slaked paint from Romabio Paints. I originally wanted to do a German Schemer to cover up my atrocious 1960s orange brick but I could not find the right color recipe. Nothing could get white enough and after reading about it so so much, I decided that since mortar wasn’t really designed to cover brick, I would find another solution. I will be sharing all the details on this process as soon as I do the final reveal, but this was one of the best decisions I made when redesigning this house. This is the BioCalce Classico in Avorio (it comes in different colors!) and I did it all myself! Like the whole house. YEP. I had to do SOMETHING. :) It’s messy and time consuming, but totally DIY worthy. Complete curb appeal game changer!!

Whew. This has been a project. A FUN project that has opened SO many doors!! (Did you catch my segment on San Antonio Living?!) Seriously though.

One year ago I was as stressed out as I had ever been in my life. We were still awaiting orders from the military regarding our next move. We were finally confirmed for San Antonio with only five weeks to move. I was completely depleted from my husband’s eight (twelve, really) years of training. & the low maintenance living of Base Housing sounded pretty great. But that was not the plan for me. Many tears. Much angst. Many frustrated days in a living situation that was less than ideal. This all brought me here. & where am I today? I am sitting in a huge pool of gratitude.

We have some new challenges ahead that are unique to a military lifestyle, but we can get through it. I am no stranger to solo parenting. I know that I can juggle many hats. I know that I am better (to everyone) when kept creatively stimulated. & while it may seem like my work is finally done, I can assure you one thing: It’s just getting started. :)

Be sure to join my email list to keep up to date! I appreciate every word of support & enthusiasm! & plan to add some E-Design options that may open up the possibility of a design relationship between us, whether you live near or far!


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Hello blogland! I have been really enjoying my daily “microblogging” over on Instagram. I have been on site daily and managing all the small decisions and none of them have had a big design board to share with you. But here we are, several weeks from completion and making huge huge progress. I thought I would take you through a few of the before & in progress images. I can’t wait for it to be done. But if I am being honest, I love every step of the process. Still. I know. All these little decisions are the details that MAKE the design. & at the end, I know these little things will be what matters most.

In my true less is more mood of the moment, I am continuing to see this blank slate and build in all the nooks and crannies that will keep it looking that way. My go-to term is “no-fuss.” I want ZERO fuss right now. Everything smooth, clean, simple. It’s going to be hard for a collector of a gal like me. But hopefully I can move the bare minimum. A new tenant is moving into our current rental in thirty days, so we will be moving everything over really really soon. EEK! Here’s where we are right now!


Dividing wall is long gone, wall to the left is opened up & custom cabinets will be installed this week! Lots of LIGHT, during the day & night! New windows coming soon as well.

Fireplace wall:

The rock is done (hand placed by me, of course!) and it’s grouted. Old mantle beam, reclaimed from a building in downtown San Antonio prior to demolition is now hung. It’s been painted & is awaiting the floating shelves in the niche!


Closet on the left has been demo’d and we’re waiting for a door to close off the utility closet. W/D will go to the right & a bench will be where the desk used to be, with hooks for backpacks above & shoe storage below.


The dividing wall (in the before image on the left) now has a huge cutout, and I took the picture on the right through it. Now light flows into the main living areas from the front and back of the house! I kept the original window pattern but replaced the old windows with some more decorative panels in the bay. It will be flanked with floor to ceiling bookcases, coming soon!

Reading Room:

No longer a formal dining room! This is our reading room/guest room and will soon get a pair of french doors to add just a smudge more separation to the space.


So long terrazzo tile! New paver look tile runs from inside the house to the front porch, marrying the two spaces!

Kids Bathroom:

Remember this bubblegum beauty? She’s bright & white now! Super fun floors compliment the classic subway tile, in a new & modern pattern. Coming soon: butcher block counters and more white cabinets!

Bedroom #1:

This is the closest-to-done room in the house! All that is left is closet doors! Love, love, love these European White Oak floors that are running throughout the whole house!

Master Bathroom:

Oh, this has come SO far!! Marble, marble, marble. By the end of the day today the whole thing should be grouted and the gray stand alone vanity placed. Can. Not. Wait. (!!!)

Master Bedroom:

This is actually already an “old” after picture, as the new windows are in & the walls are my beloved silver sage. But those FLOORS!!  I am in LOVE.

& the exterior. OH the exterior. We were not going to do this right away, but we decided to just get it all done once and for all. So I am currently figuring out what to do with this brick, as the orange will be gone SOON. Materials for a German Schmear are harder to find than one might think, so I am experimenting and exploring other options right now. :) All limewash/mortarwash experience & advice welcomed!!

& while I have been managing this fun project of mine, I have started adding others.  I have added a link at the top in the menu bar called Styleberry Creative. When you click this you will see all that I am offering clients at this time. I will be working until the end of May, and then taking the summer off to be with my kiddos. I will resume client work in August. :) If you would like to sign up for my mailing list so you keep up with my current project availability and/or get my fun & helpful quarterly newsletter, please sign up below.

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You will not hear from me any more frequently than once a quarter. If that. ;) Those of you who have been around here for awhile know that I much prefer seeing your face vs. sending an email. But this is necessary, in the world of filtered social media. I promise to only send you helpful info & updates on Styleberry Creative.  Pinky swear.

I can’t wait to share more of the renovation here soon! Thank you for all of your continued support, cheering on & shared enthusiasm!!

Xoxo. :)

  • Angela - Hi !! Love how its coming along.. chip and joanna fixer upper person that did the german smear is here …

    the website above is not my own … just one that I came across. hope it works for you ~!ReplyCancel

Do you follow me on Instagram? I share a lot more of the day to day stuff going on with the renovation over there. It’s hard for me to sit down & write. I like to be on the go. Move move move. The more I work on this project, the more I fall in love with the process. I love construction sites. I love the mess, the blank slate and the people working to make my vision come to life. I love interacting with my can-do team that is doing all the hard work in our home every day. Every crazy idea I come up with they seem to make happen. I know I say this every time I write here, but I absolutely love with this work.

I have tried to fill my “down time” with books instead of social media lately and shared some of my favorite little excerpts over on IG but I couldn’t help but notice the contradictions in two of the tidbits I recently shared–the story of the wrestle of my life between work & home. While reading Present Over Perfect (a sweet & easy read, probably more applicable a couple years ago) this resonated with me:

“The love I was looking for all along is never found in the hustle. You can’t prove it or earn it or compete for it.” –Shauna Niequist

YES. I wholeheartedly agree. Our work at home is so very important. I have always, always believed this. & then Brene Brown’s new parenting series came out & Marianne Williamson’s beautiful quote crossed my feed.

That little voice in my head was loud: you’re doing the right thing, focusing on home & your personal project and your kids and your husband. I have heard that little voice for a good long while now.

& then on the flip side, just a week later, I was so so moved by the hustle I read about in The Magnolia Story. Can we find life and love and fulfillment in both the hustle and at home? Or is the hustle AT home? Or is it both? Can we manage both? I feel like we can weave a story where we balance a little bit of it all and still come out okay. But back to that seasons thing I used to talk about all the time. The “little voice” Joanna spoke about in her book, the one that I have heard so loudly in my own head, urged her to close her shop and raise her babies. And now what she has done when they’ve gone back to school is remarkable. Seasons. It’s all about making choices and recognizing seasons. 

“I always thought that the “thriving” would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it’s actually down in the mess that things get good…if you can’t find happiness in the ugliness, you’re not going to find it in the beauty either.” –Joanna Gaines

Well, isn’t that the truth.

I love working on this project and also taking time to catch my breath while my kids are in school. I know I will always be on the perpetual search for balance between the desire to hustle for a job I love outside the home & to hustle for those I love most of all. I am still not sure what is next after this project is done. That’s the fun part, right? Seeing how this story unfolds?

As for the house–well. It’s moving right along. All I can seem to focus on anymore is how life will feel when we move into it. How everything will have a home and we won’t be worrying about when we’ll move and where we’ll live, which has been a constant stress in the back my mind for the last four years. Being able to finally purge all the stuff I have been keeping because “maybe it will work in the next house” will be so freeing.

I didn’t update last week because a lot of important but boring stuff was wrapping up. The plumbing, electrical and walls are pretty much done. & I don’t want to simply blog what I share over on IG, so day to day stuff will always be over there. I even did my first IG story yesterday…weird! Nothing like new technology to make you feel old. Next week will bring some big, fun changes as the install of the materials will be underway!

We did the kitchen design last week and I have incorporated so many crazy-type-A organization hacks in there–I cannot wait to share my version of them when they are done. I was inspired by a lot on pinterest but I am now focusing on how it will all be organized and how little I can pare down to & still have the home function for us. When I close my eyes and visualize spaces I love, and what I want mine to look like, I don’t see a lot of stuff. I see a few beautiful things. A big goal for this gal, who used to joke that I basically have Homegoods in my basement. ;)
& now that we are getting closer to the end I am finally starting to think about the interior decorating. (!!) AND the exterior overhaul. I will not tackle the exterior until after we move in, but it will get a total makeover and I am so excited about that change still to come. Ketchup and mustard brick/paint be gone! :) I am loving Benjamin Moore Sea Salt for the front door & will do a mortar wash to cover up the brick. I am getting so excited to start doing some of the work myself–we’re getting close!

Yesterday I spent an hour or so throwing rock and chipping away at the edges to make them just the right shape for the cottage-y looking fireplace that I have living in my head. It’s coming to life! I laid out all the rock for my team and they are doing a thick, light colored mortar to fill in the gaps. I. Can’t. Wait. Painting is right around the corner too. Stay tuned!! :)

The Holidays have come & gone. I hope you were able to unplug for awhile & enjoy them to their fullest! My husband was on call, so we took it easy and spent quite a few days only going where our bikes could take us. We like quiet holidays & try our best to keep a slow pace and enjoy them without all the fuss. Of course, there was this little ‘ol renovation happening in the midst of it all, but we’re a short walk away from the project so it was easy to pop over as needed. :)

Over the broken work weeks most of the electrical was rewired & all of the plumbing has now been run. Some drywall has gone back up and we have LIGHT!! A house sure starts to look like something you can live in when the drywall starts to go in. So exciting!


(Thanks to this incredible Physical Literacy Gift Guide by my inspiring friend Amanda of Move Live Learn, my kids got a slackline under the tree for Christmas & it occupies them at the new house while I spend countless bits of time on stuff with the contractor that is “soo boring.” HA. Seriously though, it’s an AWESOME addition to our new yard!!)

We ended up having to rewire the whole house and so that came with some big decisions, especially if you are the kind of person who doesn’t like to see cords when you plug stuff in. I did my best to space plan with the stuff that we have, knowing full well that we’d like to replace much of our current furniture over time. We haven’t bought much of anything new in the last decade, so we are well overdue for an upgrade in many areas. However, the renovation is taking all my decorating $$ so we’ll be working with what we have until we can swing more. I think it is always fun to have something to look forward to, so I am staying positive. Or trying to. Especially about that 2000’s cherry wood bedroom set that I cannot seem to get rid of. Someday…! I spent the “redecorating the master” $$ on a fun new custom loft in Everett’s room (!!!), so we’ll wait. Oh, what we do for our children. :)


My materials are trickling in & I am super excited with the progress. Just about everything has been purchased, so now it is time to be patient. Doors, floors & walls will get done. I am so eager!

I shared the design details for the Kitchen & Kids Bathroom with you, and the last space with so many design details to tackle is the Master Bath. I was set on a Marble bathroom. Lots of white. & some grey, to break up the white cabinets we’ll have in so many other rooms. I searched high & low for a good-looking marble that would work with our budget. If I had all the moolah in the world, it may look a bit different, but I am so happy with what I ordered & can’t wait to see it all together!

The space is a generously sized two room area that we are keeping two rooms. We really, really like having separate wet/dry areas in the bathroom. We’ve lived in a few places together as a couple and know what we do/do not like. A separate potty is a must. We’re currently living with one sink in a teeny tiny master bathroom and keep bumping into each other when we brush teeth. (A luxury, I know! I am not sure we’ve ever brushed teeth together on a regular basis!!) We’ve been used to two sinks and were thrilled at this layout, as it will give us the space that we’re so greatly lacking right now. Here’s what it was just a couple short months ago:


While spacious, the vanity builtins were super low–about 6 inches lower than you see these days. It works fine for kids, but for adults, it felt like you’d be bending really far over to wash your face. So we took this bathroom down to the studs and are re-working the cabinetry.


The shower/potty combo is fine as a footprint. There was a door that went right into the bedroom, instead of to the Master hallway–both offering access to the bedroom with the master bedroom door shut. So I decided to remove the second door in the bathroom, as our current rental taught me how little I like to fall asleep staring at the bathroom door. & how much it stinks to have your partner flip on the light when you are asleep, faced that direction. So it’s gone, as are the cabinets. I also removed the tub and we’re doing a stand alone shower. We are not bath people, and I would rather have two separate areas with a generous vanity area than a big bathtub that I do nothing with but dust.

Here is my design plan & inspiration:


Inspired by the image on the upper left, I did three vanity lights set to the sides of the mirror instead of two above them. There are only a couple of things that I didn’t like about this house, and one of them is the lack of natural light in the vanity area. I want to put the light where it counts, right in front of us! So I chose some super simple fixtures, over this beautiful vanity. All are linked on my pinterest page, if you are interested. I ordered 6×12 in honed Arrebescato marble to be set in a herringbone pattern on the floor throughout both spaces. Someday, I would like to either tile or board & batten the walls in the vanity area, but for now–it’ll be drywall. I’ll come up with something fun. I need to leave some projects for “eventually.” :)

The stand alone vanity is grey and beautiful. I had my electrician put the outlets low on the wall, so we can feed all cords IN the cabinets & have nothing on the counter. In the master, I am looking for complete minimalism. I want to protect this space as a simple, uber clean area for us to retreat to at the end of the day. Nothing for my kids to mess up!

The shower & potty area will be mostly marble, as the shower will be tiled floor to ceiling. I designed it with a bench and a sizable inset to not only house our shower essentials without the use of a rusty shampoo rack, but also to showcase the star honed marble I fell in love with the first day I went looking for materials. It was pricey, so to stay on a modest budget I was able to order just a few square feet to cover the big inset that will be on the shower wall. It’s all about compromise. New towel hooks will go where the old door used to be, as will hampers. Darn laundry’s gotta go somewhere! New cabinets will go above the potty to house the rest of the essentials. I want everything out of sight & clean. :)

We’re so so close, I can almost taste it. After we move in, we will have moved four times in 2.5 years. & I am SO so SO eager to settle. For so many reasons. But mostly, just to be able to breathe. To have a refuge for our family that functions well for us. To once again, have a place to pour my heart into that is mine. I am already dreaming about the exterior & how I am going to make the ketchup and mustard facade disappear. I am dreaming about making the mudroom/laundry uber organized. I am stoked to have a true office for the first time ever.

As I turn from design to decor, I get really excited. Most of the big decisions are done…and now the rest of the fun begins. I have been in purge mode for awhile now, and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. The always inspiring Nester shared these thoughts on “quieting your house” yesterday and I loved them. Less is sometimes more, and editing is good.


I found this yesterday at an Estate Antique shop here in town & it spoke to me loudly. It was in the half price room & I negotiated it down to a very good price so I snapped it up. The two trains, powerfully going in opposite directions. The cautionary “ding dings” (as my kids call them) signaling that it’s time to proceed, down an open path ahead. I want this house to be full of things that I love, and listening to what I love, really love, is a practice. I’ve conditioned myself to deal seek and force myself to love stuff that is on clearance, because it’s the best price. So over the years I have collected a ton of stuff that was a good deal that I am luke warm on. I am trying very hard to be careful of what I collect from here on out. I have to love it. A lot. & I haven’t bought anything but necessities for this place until I found this. I cannot wait to give it a new home. In my new home. :)

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

While the holiday fun is swirling all around us, I am working on all the “guts” of our renovation. All the “three inches here” and “move that five inches there” meticulous decisions that go into a renovation of this scope. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a distraction from the season but it’s a pretty good one–one that I am grateful to have! Over the last two years I have simplified my life so this season doesn’t get overwhelming. That is paying off as I manage this project while also taking care of all the additional responsibilities that most of us moms have this time of year–which could be completely overwhelming. But every day we get closer to moving in. & that feels good.

Right now we’re in the plumbing/electrical/framing and some drywalling phase of the project. Not much looks a whole lot different, but it’s all the prep work that will help close off the walls as soon as possible so installation of tile & flooring can get done. We’re on the right track, but it’s a long one! We are doing all new electrical and that is a big job.

This week I rendered the kitchen so power is now in the right place. & that led us to the last of the framing–the fireplace. This is open to the kitchen and a major focal point of the space. I have agonized over this piece of the puzzle for so long. It’s wonky and off center and our eight foot ceilings make it really tricky to manage.

styleberry_renovation-week-5_1 Plan A was to drop the firebox to the floor so we could mount the TV over the fireplace. I did not love this idea–at all–but we were knocking out all the walls the TV could go on & there is a giant wall of windows on the other side. It was seemingly the only option. So I was going to use the fireplace as the center, and built-in shelving on both sides for balance. The right side would have to be built out into the room a bit (HVAC is behind that wall–we can’t extend into it), and the left would be able to be a little deeper into the existing niche. But then they demo’ed.
styleberry_renovation-week-5_2 Once the wall was exposed we learned that unless we wanted to do a big roof patch & structural reinforcement, the firebox was going to stay right where it was. Not dropping. & four inches off center. This meant no TV over it & on to plan B.

So what I decided to do was remove a little less of the wall we were knocking out on the other side of the doorway (on the right,) which will accommodate a flush, wall mounted TV. We’ll have a small cabinet to house the components & are having all the wiring hidden in the wall. & I am accepting that this is a renovation–not a new build–and that comes with a side of imperfect. Here’s a peek at Plan B:


All of these image sources are linked on my Pinterest Board–and each has contributed to my final composite image. With every step I take on this project I remind myself: LESS IS MORE. Simplicity. Function. Casual. Cozy. That is what I am after. I want a really cottage-y, mixed size stone on the fireplace in the middle. It is off center a smidge–and while the firebox will be centered to the stone center column (extending the left side of the brick part that is cut off above) it’s still going to be a bit off.

Instead of adding more cabinetry (which will be visible in the kitchen & playroom from this space) I am opting for floating wood shelves in a niche on the left. Flooring will extend into the niche, but there will be a drywall header on the top. These shelves will be more for decor than function–as I plan to use the playroom for most storage we’ll need for books & toys.

On the right side, (oh, the darn right side!!!) I have decided to just keep is simple. It has to be flat because of the HVAC unit. Paneling seemed too fussy. Ledge shelves were too cluttery. Plain drywall seemed too boring. So I am going with a wide plank shiplap. Still simple, but with a little added interest, bringing a casual vibe to the space.

We’re also pulling from the gas line that runs to the furnace to bring gas to the fireplace. I am getting some gas logs for in the firebox but opting for no glass for now. We can always add later, but I’d like to keep it open and see how we like it. The hearth will extend out about a foot from the firebox, so it should be just fine. In the end, as much as I love wood burning, I think that for emissions and safety reasons gas is the better option for us right now. Whew. Now on to the next big set of decisions!

Wishing you & your family a wonderful holidays! I will be stepping away for week six to spend time with my kiddos. But I will fill you in as soon as my they are back in school! We should be installing tile by then–how exciting! Xoxo.


photo cred: Sara K Blanco Photography

  • kristin - loving the updates on your home, and reading your blog again. we aren’t doing a gut in our latest house (we aren’t a military family- but have move 9 times in 12 years… nuts) but it is one where we have plenty of choices to make. Trying to be wise, and frugal. :) Thanks for the inspiration and also the information! hope your holidays are fruitful with family!ReplyCancel

Before we started the renovation I was terrified about the construction timeline landing over the holidays. BUT, then it hit me: Holidays = Sales, & what better time to purchase all the pretty things for a house then smack dab in the middle of the best deals of the year?! Add to that the reality that most people don’t want to be under construction during the holidays, so contractors may be available & willing to work during this “slow” season & my nerves settled. The timing was actually pretty perfect! So here we are! Demo is done & we are now in the slower phase of plumbing and electrical when not much changes every day. But it will again soon!

This renovation has exercised my deal-hunting skills to the max. I am absolutely stretching our budget as far as I possibly can to make this place our dream home-for-now. I am trying to make decisions wisely and that means I can get more for my money. & why wouldn’t anyone want to do that?!

While everyone was shopping for kids & family on Black Friday, I was taking full advantage of the best appliance sales of the year and stocking up on all of the materials for our kitchen. Then last week our poor UPS guy unloaded my big farm sink & the endless boxes of fixtures and kitchen details & we were overrun with boxes. Thank goodness for the dumpster! Last week I showed you the general layout of the newly opened kitchen & today you’ll get a peek at the kitchen design board. I am still working out specific details, so final product links will come later, but you can always peek at my pinterest board for the not-yet-final details.

So at long last…here’s where I am headed! :)


I have always wanted a white kitchen. The brighter the better. However, I knew I didn’t want it to be ALL white. I need some contrast in my life. So inspired by this gorgeous kitchen by Pinney Designs, I got to work. Light floors, white cabinets, slightly grey backsplash & a countertop that tied it all together was my goal. I fell deeply in love with some pendants by Restoration Hardware and knew I wanted to add mixed metals and warm woods into this space as well. I wasn’t sure I was going to fit the RH fixtures in budget but a couple weeks ago I made the trek to the RH outlet and started digging. I opened every box I could and hit the JACKPOT. I found exactly the pendants, in exactly the size I was looking for and got both of them for well under what one would have cost at full retail price. Meant to be!!

As much as I love the brass hardware trend making the rounds, I knew I wanted a commercial style kitchen faucet and I really wanted to play with mixing metals in this space. Plus, I am going to have a second mini faucet for our instant hot/filtered water and they aren’t yet made in bronze–so that made that color a deal breaker. Brushed nickel hardware with bit of antique bronze and oil rubbed bronze will be scattered throughout. I don’t want it match matchy–but it will all blend. Light floors with slightly darker, warm wood accents & bamboo roman shades. Grey floors in the adjacent mudroom. Bits & pieces of reclaimed woods + antiques that I have taken from my grandmothers’ kitchens. I am just so excited to put this place together I cannot even tell you! I have a whole other article on functionality that will be coming up when we have the final kitchen design done–because as much as I love the design stuff, function is of utmost importance. So look for that soon! BUT…until then, I have to share these with you.

We had a family session with Sara K. Blanco scheduled and were set to be massively rained out. WELL, she threw out this “crazy idea” (thinking I would hate it): shoot in our totally gutted house. & I JUMPED!! YES!! Why not capture this beautifully messy part of our story in the space that we’ll soon call home! The light is a dream and she sure didn’t have to ask me twice! So there we were. One Tuesday afternoon my kids rode their scooters over & the rest is history. Magic, pure magic, Sara!! :)




styleberry_renovation-week-4_4 styleberry_renovation-week-4_2


I like real photography. I like moments that happen spontaneously. Snippets of our actual life. & moments that are imperfect and dirty and messy.

Like when the dog eats your garland.



Thank you, Sara, for chasing us through the dust!! You are so talented. Local friends, book her!!



Fun already being had in the kitchen. :) I can’t wait to have her back when it’s done. <3

  • Marianna - I love it that you are back here, writing frequently. You were missed friend. Your new kitchen is going to be amazing. Can’t wait for the post of the apocalypse :)
    The photos are so warm and happy! A joy to see!ReplyCancel

We are knee deep in the mess of demo and today is probably the very last day–so hard to believe! I have been very busy making all the final selections for finishes and getting everything on order so it gets here by the first of the year and it has been quite the process! Luckily, I have had my “dream house” in my head for a very long time so making these decisions has been super fun and relatively easy. While I would never call this my dream house, this is a project that has been amazing for our family & the end result will be a very functional home that lies within our budget for this stage of our life in San Antonio.

We are a military family, and with that comes some uncertainty. We don’t get to pick what city we live in. Sometimes we have to leave when we don’t want to. Sometimes we have to go places we do not want to go, for short lengths of time that make home ownership/renter life a frustrating process. We’ve moved five times in the last twelve years and when we move into this house, it will be move number six. So to do a renovation of this scope as a military family is a pretty big deal! It IS a dream, even if it isn’t the BIG budget dream in my head. It’s still good to have “someday” dreams in there. :) I feel fortunate that we have enough stability with my husband’s career field that we think we’ll be here awhile. There are only two military hospitals in the US that can support his specialty, so we’re hoping to stay here for decent amount of time. His commitment ends the year Everett graduates from High School, so if we are lucky, there is a chance this will be the last house my kids will call home before they go to college some day. That possibility made our house hunt all the more challenging–we needed room to grow. Our family is complete, but we needed the space to nourish teenagers and guests and our introvert lifestyle–somewhere with lots of corners to go settle down and read.

Living in so many homes over the last decade gave me a really good idea of what I like and don’t like. Our current rental home (the WORST of them all) has provided even deeper clarity–and much of that surrounds the closed kitchen. I’ve talked about it before, but the most crucial element of our house hunt involved the possibility of opening up the kitchen.  If this wasn’t possible, the house would not work for us. The kitchen bones in this house were just perfect for my vision & while the family room is a little smaller than I would like, it will work. Here’s how we’re going to change the pretty square living space floorpan–original on the left, new on the right:


The teal represents the current/future doorways & cased openings. We will be closing off the pass through from the kitchen to the old dining room so I can create a U shaped, eat in kitchen. The “eat in” part actually bumps out beyond the wall line in the drawing above.

When you walk in the entry way, this is the view. To the right is the bedroom hallway, to the left is the playroom & this is what will be the combined family room/open kitchen.


If I walk in & turn back a bit, I can see into the playroom. My original plan included opening up the wall with the sconces on it so this was a big giant room–but those plans came to a screeching halt when we learned that this is a major load bearing wall. Having a house that is standing trumps my desire to have a totally open space. This is actually going to be great–a cased opening gives us the ability to still put furniture on walls, as the massive windows make that impossible on most other walls.


Here is where we are today:


Where the wall stands will eventually be a 9ft peninsula with stools tucked under on the family room side. The sink will be centered on this peninsula & there will be two pendant lights over the top. Directly behind it on the other side of the “U” will be the range, centered. On the adjacent wall, the bottom of the “U” shape, will be the refrigerator. This makes that perfect working triangle & lets there be LIGHT & light & more light all through the space!


Just through the doorway will be the eat in kitchen area. The cabinets were removed to accommodate a full size kitchen table. You can see the laundry/mudroom through the doorway on the other side of the kitchen. There is actually an afterthought third half bath back there too, which will be converted to a pantry. YAY for a pantry. I really miss having one!


Below is a view of the entire “eat in” area. Removing the cabinets & peninsula make it easily accommodate the big table I will put there.


The wall the sink is on is going to take a little more work to remove than anticipated, as one roof support lies directly on that wall. The header will be moved into the attic & this should be open by the end of the week. When I close my eyes I can see the big countertop that will be home to many fun projects, from Christmas cookies to homework & everything in-between!



& the cased opening to the playroom should be passable without support today–(peninsula is on the right, if you are turned around) and that means we are well on our way to making this space what I had envisioned!

Builtins will flank the big window in the playroom & while I had originally planned to have an angled bench run under the window, I don’t think it would be very functional. Instead, I am leaving it open and plan to use that space a little differently. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t design this space around the holidays though–as I can’t imagine how dreamy this is going to look with a round twinkly Christmas tree right in the middle! :)


The feeling I get when I see my vision come to life is pretty amazing. I know we are all born with different gifts and often it takes a very long time to figure out what your gift is & what makes you tick. For me, choosing not to get a design degree has long been something I questioned. This career actually popped up on a personality test during my career counseling my senior year of college. But back then, I had a soon-to-be-husband heading to medical school and I was going to be the breadwinner. I couldn’t go back to school. & my career after college taught me a lot. It’s part of my story. But here I am–still wondering what’s to come. Wondering what I am going to make of my professional life from here on.

I stumble a little bit when I describe what I love to do. The truth is, I love designing homes. The fact that my formal education doesn’t involve this leaves me hesitant to call myself a designer. I stick to decorator or interior stylist. But I AM designing this house. I am not just decorating. & I LOVE it.

My husband & I keep having the conversation about what comes next. Where do I go from here when this project ends? Because it will. Soon. & I have to keep doing this. It is creative work, it is fulfilling work. & while I still have so much to learn, I have learned so very much along the way. My new story is well under way. & that, is pretty darn exciting. :)

Next up: the functional design & kitchen finishes! To say my kitchen has kept me up at night is an understatement. It is MY space & it has received the appropriate amount of my attention. I can’t wait to share the rest of the pretty & practical plans with you!

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  • Missy B - I have your next project… thinking about renovating our kitchen. Would be interested in hiring you as my interior stylist. ReplyCancel