you’ve got mail

It occurred to me last week that we will be moving in about a month from now and there is a ton of items we still need before we move, things such as a mailbox. 

On our street, mailboxes are on the houses so we were off to search for a wall-mounted mailbox. We decided to match the color of the mailbox to the door hardware (oil rubbed bronze). This definitely limited the number of options since silver, copper and white seemed to be the popular colors. 

We checked a lot of the standard places like, wayfair, and Amazon but didn’t find anything that really fit what we were looking for. Based on a recommendation, we also checked Signature Hardware which had a lot of options but nothing that really stood out. Rejuvenation was another place we looked and they had some very fun and funky options but nothing our style. 

Finally, we checked Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. I didn’t think they would carry mailboxes but was pleasantly surprised. Restoration Hardware has a very streamlined mailbox in a variety of colors that we ended up loving! It comes in two different shapes so it can fit in a variety of spaces. There wasn’t a lot of reviews online for those mailboxes but we decided to take the chance and have one on order.

Can’t wait to see how it looks on the new house!


planters a plenty 

We are currently doing research on landscaping, looking at the different types of plants, bushes and trees while trying to get a feel for our style. We know we like things that are low maintenance and have clean lines but are still working through our vision. 

While driving around our neighborhood to get ideas, we noticed a lot of homes with large planters near the entry way. We loved this look. Here are a couple of photos to give you an idea. 

After coming to this conclusion, we started researching large planters. With our color scheme, we really love the look of stone castes planters. They can be very heavy (more than 200 lbs) and also costly but should last you a lifetime. 

We found several made by Campania International that we loved and they even have a line made in the US. The planter below was one that caught our eye and matches the look we are going for. Can’t wait to see the rest of the landscape vision come together! 

adding a little character

We knew we wanted to mix in some different design elements for the exterior of the house and after a lot of discussion and driving around to look at homes, we agreed on white wash brick. 

I absolutely love white wash brick but soon realized all is not created equal. After making a short trip to the local brick store, we quickly learned that we like the charm and character that comes with tumbled brick. The cost for tumbled brick is higher because there is more processing involved. Similar to how you would tumble rocks as a kid to remove the sharp edges, you take a standard brick and tumble it a bit, not long enough to smooth out all the edges but enough to make it non uniform. 

Our next decision was where to put the brick. Some people put it on top of windows like an eyebrow, others put it below windows like a sill. We decided to do below on windows and above on other areas like the garage. 

The brick is in the process of being placed and it hasn’t been white washed yet. Here is a peek at some of the windows, garage, and entry way. 

We are pleased with the extra character it brings to the house! 

weathering the storm 

This past weekend, Centeal Florida got hit by one of the worst hurricanes in the state’s history. Luckily, thanks to a late night turn of Hurricane Matthew, the situation in the inland part of Central Florida was not as bad as predicted. 

On Thursday,  before we started to get storm bands coming through, we went by the house to make sure it was ready for the storm. Prior to any hurricane, it’s always a good idea to take photos of the exterior of house in case of any damage and insurance claims later on. 

Once the majority of the storm had passed and the local curefews were lifted, we went by the house on Friday to see how it had held up. Luckily, a few months ago, we had the tree in our front yard trimmed back away from the house. Thanks to that trimming, our large oak did really well and we didn’t have any major branches down. 

If you have ever wondered what to do with a portapotty in a storm, you can strap it to a large tree 😧

Compared to other areas in Central Florida, especially on the coast, we were really lucky and the house held up great! 

living in an igloo 

Paint can look very different under different types of lighting and next to different paints. This was a lesson we learned the hard way. 

For the ceilings throughout our house, we selected a color called Bright Ceiling White from Sherwin Williams. This color looked like it would be a beautiful white without being too harsh. When this color was put on the ceiling, instead of being a nice white, it appeared ice blue! We might as well be living in an igloo! 

At first, I thought it was just the lighting making it look blue but upon a second look, it was clear that we needed to make a change! 

We decided to paint the ceiling the same color as the trim (Sherwin Williams Snowbound) with a flat finish. I’m just glad to have a white ceiling again! 

more than just storage 

I never imagined there was a lot of options related to cabinets until it came time to make selections. Not only are there different cabinet styles (shaker, etc) but they have varying features and costs. Here are some cabinet basics to know: 

Box construction – the cabinet box itself can be made out of different types of materials depending on your price point. Plywood is more common among the higher end lines followed by particle board and finally MDF. Both MDF and particle board are susceptible to water damage and particle board may give off vapors from the coatings. Stick with the sturdiness of plywood if you can. 

Dovetail – the tightest joint construction for corners of drawer boxes (see picture below). Corners could also be glued/ staples together but they won’t be as durable. 

Drawer support – each drawer as a support system that allows for easy movement of the drawer in and out of place. Make sure your drawers are supported on both sides and not just in the middle by one rod. 

Soft close – drawers and cabinets can come with a soft close feature where the drawer/ cabinet will be a few inches from closing and slowly close on their own. This feature is nice because it is easier on the cabinet and also keeps the noise down. 

Another option to consider is that all cabinets in your house do not have to be the same line. The kitchen cabinets could be a nicer line than the cabinets in your secondary bathrooms. This is a way to help your money go further and spend it where it counts the most! 

all quartz

After laying out all of the options for kitchen counter tops and a lot of discussion, we decided to switch from a quartzite/ quartz combo to all quartz countertops. We loved the low maintenance quartz countertops require and really liked their durability. There are several different quartz surface manufacturers, each with different designs and patterns. Here are some of the more common brands:

Caesarstone – a publically traded company headquartered in Isreal founded in 1987. Their products are sold in over 42 different countries world-wide

Cambria – a family owned American company with more than 60 years of manufacturing experience. Unlike the other companies, all of their products are made here in the US

Silestone – was created in 1990 as a part of the Cosentino Company, who has experience that includes exporting their products to over 80 countries world-wide

Zodiaq – a part of the DuPont Company, all of their quartz surfaces are manufactured in their plant in Canada

After reviewing each company’s designs, we decided to move forward with Cambria. We liked that the company is still family owned and manufactured here in the US. We also loved some of their new designs!