We Have Built-Ins!

Hello everyone! It's January...that is crazy.  I've spent this week de-Christmasing my house.  I put it off as long as I could but the dead pine needles on my floor finally spoke louder than my need to have "just one more night with the Christmas tree."  Please tell me you can relate!!  My house is rather bare today, so it's time for a little photo recap of the last few months.  Join me, won't you?

We hosted Thanksgiving this year, which we loved.  Having family gathered around my dining table, the one I inherited from my grandmother, was so special for me!

We had to move the table into the formal living room to accommodate all the leaves we added. A wonderful problem!  There were eight littles and eight adults and so the sippy cups mingled with the wine glasses.  All was good.  :)

My living room got a mini-makeover in preparation for the holidays!  Bonus points if you can see what has changed from the photos (or my super-stealthy post title), but I'm going to make you wait because I just uploaded all my Christmas photos and I've got to share.

This December we tried introducing Vivian to Santa Claus.  We have a dear family friend who plays Santa every year (at Cincinnati's Union Terminal, for you locals!), and he has paid a house call the past few years for our kids.  This year it was at my sister's house.  Didn't matter the venue...Vivi was not a fan.

However, we did get her to smile for our annual Christmas card photo!  I tell you the truth though...the only way we got our kids to smile like this was by telling them to "pretend that Henry tooted."  Heaven help us when potty talk no longer brings on absolute hysteria for our kiddos.  (And now that you know the context, you can't look at our photo without thinking of toots...and I am sorry!)

We celebrated Christmas Eve at our house, and for the eighth year in a row Brent couldn't get through 'Twas the Night Before Christmas without tearing up.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  :)

And on Christmas night we went to my mom's house for dinner...and our baby Vivi got to hang out with her cousin, baby Libby, my sister's newborn daughter.  It's been a busy season in our family!

And now back to the house-y stuff, because I know you girls!  :) Here's a photo of the living room from the previous owners of our house (opposite angles in the before/after photos, it's all I could find!):

And a photo of it shortly after we moved in and re-did the walls, floors and trim:

Can you spot the difference?  Yes, the furniture is slightly different, but the most exciting change is the built-ins (and perhaps the ride-on bumblebee if you're 16 months old!).

We've been dreaming of adding built-in bookshelves to this space since we moved in over two years ago, and hosting Thanksgiving dinner gave us the kick in the pants that we needed!  My incredibly handy husband built them, using base cabinets from a local hardware store, butcher block from an antique dealer (we cut them down to size and refinished them), and pine 1x12 boards for the shelves themselves.

This room now holds all our books, in addition to being my office and our formal living room and (one day) our dining room (when our small kitchen takes over our even smaller dining room, forcing the dining room into the living room...if that makes any sense at all).  Our books out on display and easily accessible make me feel like all my literary friends have come out to play again!

Lots of fun little touches, like this antique mirror we found for $17 and refinished...

And the gallery wall above my desk...

These Bosphorus toile pillows brought the whole room together for me.  The colors are just so perfect for in here!

Here you get a little close-up of the bookshelves.  The beadboard backing is a warm green color, which I just love next to my faithful buffalo check curtains!

Yep, those photos were taken today.  I'm not ready to give up Christmas totally, I guess.  :)

Here's the other half of the built-ins.  It was such fun to decorate them!

The oil painting hanging between the shelves was a wedding present ten years ago.  (Phew!)  It's of the Colorado mountains, given to us before we ever lived there.  It has such meaning to me now that our path has taken us there and back again.

Our monogram and some plaid accessories.  And gold. Lots of gold.

I am so sorry for the photo dump, but I guess that's what I get for waiting two months to update my blog.  If you're still hanging on after all that, thank you.  As the new year gets underway, we are working on some new house projects, in between diaper changes and basketball games and ballet practice.  I'll try to keep you updated!

Happy New Year everyone!  :)