house tour:: first floor

Welcome to our house! I just love seeing decor choices that other people make in their homes, so I thought I’d share a glimpse into our work in progress, starting with the first floor. There are SO many things I love about the bones of our house and the upgrades we’ve made, but there are of course several things on our wish list for the future. Aren’t there always? Work on a home is never done in my mind, but that’s part of the fun!

The Foyer:: I love that we actually have a foyer. It’s not as large as I’d like, but I am happy that it gives a little breathing room when you first enter the house. A lamp is essential to brighten up the entry space, and this fun new spiky aloe plant was a good find last weekend. I think we need more live plants around here.
Wish list:: I really want to change out the current light fixture just inside the door… it’s plain, boring, and doesn’t give off much of anything in the light department. I’d love a hanging metal/glass pendant of some sort… maybe like this or this.


The Half Bath:
 This is the only bathroom on the main level, and it’s perfect for guests (and being lazy so we don’t have to walk upstairs). It was originally the neutral color that the rest of the main floor is. I painted it navy to make the small space stand out a bit and give it some interest. I hate to admit it, but I sort of like the contrast of the brass to the navy paint….  maybe one day we’ll get with the times and replace with brushed nickel fixtures.

Wish list:: Changing out the mirror and light fixture. I’d prefer a smaller, framed mirror (maybe oval) and an updated fixture. If we do that, we’ll probably go all out and change all the fixtures to brushed nickel. I also think it would be fun to pick a crazy patterned wallpaper for this room, but Craig would tell me I’m crazy.



The Dining Room: At Christmas last year, we FINALLY got a great rug to ground the room (this guy from West Elm) and removed the red fabric-covered valance over the large window that did not match anything else in our house. We were gifted some beautiful, neutral patterned curtains from Ballard Designs, and I love how they frame the window, but don’t draw too much attention to themselves.
Wish list:: I sometimes debate painting this room, as I’d love to have a more dramatic contrast between the upper and lower halves of the walls. I’d also like to find/make a table runner to give some color and interest to the tablescape.


We received this Crate & Barrel bookshelf/wine rack as a wedding gift, and it’s one of my favorite pieces of furniture we have. It adds some height to the room and gives us a lot of storage (as well as a reason to buy more wine) and decorative space for frames, cook books, and corks, of course.

The Kitchen:: It was originally a darkish tan color, which was just not appealing to me. Last winter, we removed the sliding doors out to the deck and replaced them with french doors. While we were at it, we repainted the kitchen this great slate grey color, and I think it really creates a nice contrast with the cabinets.
Wish list:: I’d love to one day run dark hardwoods throughout the main floor, including the kitchen. Not pictured is the black rectangular kitchen table that seats 4. I’d eventually like to trade that out for a round table to open up the space some.


One of my favorite touches in the kitchen is the DIY mason jar light fixture that Craig made for me. We had the mason jars and just strung lights through the lids to connect into the base of the previous fixture.

The Living Room:: Tall ceilings and the fireplace are my favorite things about this space. I also appreciate the open layout that connects it to the kitchen so that we can easily entertain, which we love to do. I’d been eyeing this painting at World Market for a couple years, and it finally went on sale, so I snatched it up a few months ago. I’m in love. That fun neon banner is from an etsy seller — I bought it for a wedding shower we hosted in the spring, and it’s just too festive to take down. Maybe come Christmas, it’ll have to make room for the stockings. Also, see that gold garden stool? A fabulous hostess gift from said shower (also from World Market – similar here).
Wish list:: A big, dark grey sectional with tons of seating and a chaise lounger! Oh, and fun pillows to add some color and spice.


These photo books (made on My Publisher) are my new favorite way to organize the hundreds and hundreds of photos I take each… month. I have created one “yearbook” for each year, and their personalized, graphic covers make for the perfect coffee table books. living3

Young House Love was the first blog I ever followed. I was beyond thrilled when they released their first DIY book last winter. The first project I chose upon receiving the book was the set of mason jar bookends. I was in need of something to hold up some of my favorite design and cook books, and we had a ton of mason jars on hand. I spray painted them with a matte gold and then filled with rocks from our yard to make them sturdy. They tie in to the big mason jar drink dispenser (Pottery Barn) as well as the kitchen light fixture! I promise I don’t have an obsession. 

What to do with a giant empty wall? Fill it with frames, of course. I think the mixture of light and dark frames creates more interest, and I also like incorporating non-people photos like the Nashville print (from etsy) and landscapes from some of my favorite places. living5
Hope you enjoyed the tour! Later gators!

a quick little bathroom DIY

Wednesday, 4/10 was our 3 year anniversary of moving into our house. (oops — totally forgot that the other day!) For months and months and months, I’ve been trying to figure out how to fill the wall space in the small room that houses our toilet in the master. I wanted something functional for storage, but not a giant wooden cabinet. So after we successfully built and stained our guestroom headboard, I decided we could just build our own shelves and make them what I wanted.

Here’s a very blah before photo::


Craig had a couple pieces of cabinet grade board left over from another project,
and they magically happened to be just the size I needed, so no cuts were involved.

We were very precise in our measuring for shelf placement. 

To prep for staining, I lightly sanded them (mostly just the edges).

I had some leftover stain from the guestroom headboard, and I loved the way that turned out, so I used it for the shelves as well.


I waited several days for the shelves to fully cure, and I bought four 6″ metal brackets from Home Depot (2 for each shelf).
Time to install!

My live-in handyman.

The install was pretty quick — Craig just screwed one side of each bracket into the bottom side of the shelves,
and then he screwed the other side of the brackets into the wall.

I bought this cute rectangular woven basket at Target, and it’s perfect for holding toilet paper! 

This cute little white sea urchin is from Target as well.  I think he gives a nice clean pop to the dark shelves. 

The finished product! These shelves bring great contrast into this little room and
also provide some fun storage for practical use — and cute decorations.

quick lamp revamp

It’s time for a little more color in our house. First victim? The silver lamp on the side table in our living room. The method? Spray paint, of course. This little guy is nice and all, but rather boring.

I started off by removing the shade, bulb, and top parts of the lamp (sorry — don’t know the technical terms for those). I used painter’s tape to cover the top of the fixture as well as the beginning of the cord, and Craig had the bright idea to put the rest of the cord in a plastic bag to protect it from the spray. Be sure to wipe down whatever you’re painting first — otherwise you may end up with lots of dust particles or dirt underneath the paint.


I spent about 30 minutes standing in front of the spray paint selection at Home Depot deciding on just the right shade of blue/green. I decided on Lagoon in a Satin finish by Rust-Oleum. Last time I spray painted something, I made the mistake of doing it inside the garage with very little ventilation… not smart. So this time, I set up my spray paint area on the tailgate of Craig’s truck. I think the lamp dried a lot more quickly this way as well.


After about 3 light coats, I took it inside the garage to cure overnight.


Here’s the finished product! I really enjoy the colorful bulb peeking out from the top of the lamp. The color is just enough to add a pop to the room without being overbearing, since the rest of the room is fairly neutral.




With that success under my belt, I’m hunting for something else to get my hands/spray paint cans on!

deck the halls

It’s December and the halls of the Hayes house have been fully decked for Christmas… so let’s talk decorations!

I’ve had this wreath made from red glass ornaments for a couple years now, and I love the contrast with the navy door… and how light and bright the entryway is with some garland/lights strung around it. I wish the garland was more full, but such is life… maybe I’ll remember to get something better next year. Not pictured are cute little wreaths hung on each of the 5 front windows with a red ribbon, as well as the front bushes covered in white lights. Yay for Christmas lights! It makes me so happy to pull onto our street this time of year… so many festive houses all aglow!

I wanted to update our dining room decorations without having to buy a bunch of new pieces, and when I found these feathery white balls at West Elm, I knew I could do something fun involving a couple of them. I bought 2 and decided they needed to be strung from the light fixture above the dining room table. Instead of the usual colorful decor I’ve had the past several years, I went more neutral and sparkly with white, gold, and silver. I strung a couple unused ornaments from the remaining arms of the chandelier for a fun, flowy effect.


Every Christmas, my grandmother Nana has given a Nutcracker to all of her children’s families. Once her grandchildren have a home of their own, she gives them one as well. Here’s my little collection of three — the new guy with the sparkly red and green jacket is my favorite. I have them displayed in the dining room on the buffet that Craig’s grandfather built. It’s a fun tradition to look forward to each year!


I love having a big, tall fireplace to decorate for the holidays. This giant wreath  is from the Martha Stewart Collection at Home Depot, and these great metal reindeer stocking hangers (and decorative reindeer on the left) are from Pottery Barn. They look like they’re made of silver sticks, and the bases are heavy and deep enough to hold really full stockings — the more goodies, the better! Except that Craig swears our adorable stockings are only big enough to hold a dollar bill… apparently they don’t stretch enough for his liking.


I grew up having live Christmas trees every year and just loved them — the smell, the feel, the fullness. But that was probably partly because I wasn’t responsible for buying/hauling/setting up/decorating/watering it. Now that it’s our turn, we opted for a fake, pre-lit tree from Home Depot. This is our 4th Christmas with our fancy tree, and it’s still going strong. One of my favorite parts is that all we have to do it set it up and plug it in, and it’s all shiny and bright! No unwrapping what seems like miles of tangled lights that we threw in the box the year before. No bristles to clean up, no tree-watering duties. However, I am a little jealous of all those instagram photos I’m seeing of friends at Christmas tree farms lately… so maybe next year, we can add a real tree somewhere in the house for a little extra festiveness.

Last year, I got a little crafty and made a big bow for the tree topper. I went with a shimmery gold ribbon that has wire through the sides to I could shape it nicely. As for how it came together…. staples. Lots of staples. But nobody coming to our house is tall enough to see that, so I’m ok with it.

I always ooh and ahh over those grand, immaculate trees covered with lots of colored glass balls and ribbon, but my favorites are the ones with personalized ornaments that have been made out of popsicle sticks, painted by hand, or filled with a photo of family. For years, I have been collecting special ornaments from all of our travels…. Austria (where I studied abroad), Charleston (where we got engaged), Peter Island (where we honeymooned)… you get the idea. Those ornaments fill much of our tree, and I love looking at them year after year and remembering those special events, people, and trips. Several childhood ornaments have also been handed down to us by our moms – Craig’s favorite is the one featuring Ninja Turtles riding a sled. And my mom just gave us the cutest personalized Coco replica, which is now front and center on the tree.

After a couple years of searching, I finally found a nativity scene that I really like. I got this at an antique market in Jacksonville last weekend. It’s more abstract than the typical nativity scene — each piece is made of rusted metal and secured to a little wooden base. Aren’t they fun?

I think this recipe is from the December issue of Food Network Magazine, and I’ll definitely be breaking out the crock pot for this one. I just need to find ‘Home Alone’ on TV and I’m set! I hope y’all have fun decking your halls, too!


happy thanksgiving, y’all!

In honor of  Thanksgiving, I’ve been posting something I’m thankful for every day on facebook. I love Thanksgiving because it marks the beginning of the holiday season, and it’s a time to gather with loved ones and enjoy each other’s company and lots of food and give thanks for the many, many blessings bestowed upon us throughout the year.

We have so much to be thankful for this year! I celebrated my 6th year at the Center for Puppetry Arts and my 2nd year as a Stylist with Stella & Dot. Craig got a new job within his company and is now a Business Systems Analyst… don’t ask me what that means, but I know he’s happy to have made the change. We’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time traveling around the country this year… I think Costa Rica, Lake Tahoe, St. Augustine, and NYC were some of our favorites. My brother was sweet enough to include us in his proposal while we were in Costa Rica this spring, and we could not be more thrilled to officially welcome her into our family next year. I’ve always wanted a sister, and she’s the perfect one! Coco just turned 2 today — it’s hard to believe she’s not a “little” puppy anymore! And to top it all off, we’re all healthy and happy. It’s been a wonderful year, and I’m so looking forward to what next year brings.

Here are some shots of our turkey week so far, as well as some festive inspiration::
Photos of pilgrim hat cookies, Thanksgiving definition, and “give thanks” banner courtesy of Pinterest.

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is filled with lots of turkey, pie, and a table full of the people you love. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!