Our First Tree (In Our First Home)

It's always been a Braman tradition to pack the family in the SUV, turn up the Holiday Road, and go chop down our Christmas tree.  B and I have had a few trees together already, but this year tops the cake.  For the first time we were able to chop down our own tree on the annual hunt!! 

We searched all over the tree farm until we found the perfect girl.  She may have turned out a little chunkier than we thought, but I couldn't love her more! She's OURS and she's our FIRST tree in OUR home. Can you sense the warmth coming from my heart? It is so full and happy, I can hardly take it.  Even Chippie loves it!

via Pottery Barn

We already had a small collection of ornaments from our previous "apartment trees", but we made sure to start picking up some new ones this year.  We lucked out during Black Friday weekend at Pottery Barn with their 30% off sale and LL Bean's 20% sale.

via Christmas in Boston in Quincy Market

via Pottery Barn

via Target

via Pottery Barn

via LL Bean

via Pottery Barn

Have you put up your tree yet? How do you decorate it?


But First, Coffee

Ahh Monday. The smartest decision I have made in a while was scheduling today as PTO.  Going back to work after a holiday is never fun or easy, and one extra day is just what I needed.  Plus, I scheduled TWC to come to the house to do installation, and we all know that doesn’t always go the way it’s planned to!

While enjoying my slower paced morning, I finally used our new coffee press for the first time and boy did it make a delicious cup of coffee! B and I have been searching for the best coffee maker but have not pulled the trigger on any as of yet. 

We made the decision that a coffee press might better suit our preferences and luckily on one of our many Williams and Sonoma trips, we discovered that they had the Espro P5 Glass French Press in copper on sale.  We were able to get the large 32-ounce at the medium 18-ounce price!

My favorite part of using a press as opposed to a machine is that you can make the water as hot as you want.  My step mom April and I both agree that a lot of coffee makers don’t get the water hot enough and within minutes your coffee is lukewarm!

I grinded up some fresh Starbucks beans this morning and couldn’t be happier with the performance of the press!  It is super easy to use and the double-filter kept out every little piece of coffee grind.  I let the coffee steep for 5 minutes then plunged away.  

My coffee came out hot, delicious, and strong! What more could you ask for in a cup?

Not only did this press make the perfect cup of coffee, but do you not just love the look of it? The copper really sets it apart and makes this a stand out piece in our kitchen!

What coffee maker/press do you use? Do you have any recommendations?

Mug: LL Bean


Painting: Dining & Living Room

As gorgeous and warm as Saturday was, Sunday we woke up to the first snow of the year! Temperatures dropped about 40 degrees and flurries were on and off throughout the afternoon.  The weather didn't stop B's painting and he moved into the dining room and living room. 


To go with our blue scheme, the dining room, living room, hallway, and entry way are all being painted a china blue. With the dining room and living room finished, I find myself walking into the room and squealing with happiness!! I just love, love, love these colors!


They bring so much warmth and happiness into our home.  This shade of blue really makes the hardwood floors pop.  We didn't realize how many gold tones there were in them!



Painting: Master Bedroom

Saturday was such a beautiful day in New York! The temperatures reached the high 60's and I was in the backyard raking leaves in just a t-shirt! While I did yard work, B had the windows opened and started the painting! After finishing our floors, we couldn't wait to start getting some colors on the walls as they were all plain white (we believe they just painted over darker colors, so they weren't exactly white).  

When deciding on colors, we opted for different hues of blue.  For brands we went with Valspar Reserve because it is a primer and painter all in one, and as the can says it really is "one coat perfection".   

First up was the master bedroom and B was able to finish that up by Saturday evening.  






Project: Front Door

The day after we closed, B went over and did the "lock change over".

[We went with this lock from Lowe's]

When he reached the front door we ran into the slight problem that since the door was such an old version, stores no longer carry that version of locks.  When Brennan's parents came to visit that weekend, he and Bob went to Lowe's and picked out a gorgeous new door!  After a full day of installation, B and I have a gorgeous (and heat saving!) new door!

Original Door
(I'm pretty sure it's the original door from when the house was built in 1951!)

....and our new door! 

I just LOVE the windows on this one! The etching makes it slightly fancier and I prefer the windows to not be100% transparent.

We still have to frame the door and paint the walls - but the house exterior looks 100 times better already! #littlebiteachday



They're Done!!

He did it!! Brennan finished our floors! I cannot contain my excitement for how much I LOVE our new floors! (If you couldn't tell by my over usage of the exclamation point!) The only sad thing is that these pictures don't even give them justice.  The way the light comes in and shines off them...ahh!!

We really lucked out because even with all the staples that were used for the carpet, there were no huge holes or scratches in the wood.  

As we are not painting the walls in the office, it is officially DONE! Our first finished room! 

Thank you Brennan (again) for your tireless work and for hours of sanding and poly'ing.  You continue to make our home beautiful and I am so grateful to be partners in life!!




Floors Update!

While I was stuck in a CLE all day Saturday, Brennan spent his day sanding our floors!  He rented an orbit floor sander from Home Depot and purchased a variety of the sanding discs.  Yes, we went to Home Depot instead of Lowe's - but let me explain - Lowe's no longer does rentals!  We sucked up our pride and went to the world of orange, but to our delight the rental team was extremely helpful and easy to work with.  

Tip: if you ever rent a tool or equipment from Home Depot, pay the extra few dollars for their insurance! A little hinge fell off our sander and when we said we paid for the insurance, the associate said we were all set. Who knows what it would have cost us otherwise!

Throughout the afternoon B would sent photo updates like this one.  It's so amazing to see the difference between the "old" and the "new" finish.  

...and here she is all sanded!  I am so in love with the natural wood and how all the shades blend together.  When I got out of the CLE Saturday night and got to our house, I couldn't help sliding all over the rooms in my socks! They may have gotten completely covered in sand, but hey - doing the risky business in my own hallway totally made it worth it!

We just have to finish sanding around the edges and in the corners before doing a final clean up.  For the poly we are going with a clear semi-gloss so we keep the natural shades and have just enough shine. 

Today marks 3 weeks of homeownership and I am SO PROUD of how much we have accomplished so far!



Building Something Together

The summer before my junior year of college, I was hoping to land the ideal summer job of being the cart girl at a local golf course.   When my hopes of getting paid to get a suntan didn't work out my mom suggested I go to Lowe's as they were in need of summer help.  At first I was totally against it as I knew nothing about tools and thought it was "a boy's job."  My complaining got me nowhere and a few days later I found myself starting my first 2-10 shift. 

That summer would form the rest of my life and I will forever be grateful to my mom for pushing me down this path.  That summer and that job I didn't want is where I met Brennan...and as Darius Rucker says, thank god for missing that "dream job" because it led me here to this.

So whenever we watch those Lowe's commercials that encourage us to built something with them, we smile because we truly built something with Lowe's. We built us - a friendship, a partnership, and now a dream home.  We have made a trip to Lowe's probably every other day since we closed. Between new locks and paint and gardening tools, they have every thing we need to remodel.  


Project: Floors

Before this house became our home, the dining room, living room, entryway, and hallway all had wall-to-wall carpeting.  The bedrooms have hardwood and we were told that the carpet was covering up more hardwood.  

It was a nice white carpet, but like most homeowners today we couldn't wait to pull it up! Not only are hardwoods gorgeous and make the space brighter, but the thought of walking on a carpet that strangers walked on...in bare feet....ew gross!

B didn't waste anytime and started ripping it up within days of closing.   To our delight, the floors are in really good shape and we are hoping they only need a couple rounds of sanding.

I'm so happy with the shade of wood and the living room already look so much better! 



Before We Move In

In Progress: B pulling up carpet

Now that the home is officially ours (pinch me), we have a short list of items we want to accomplish before we actually move in. Thank you to my dad and April for allowing us to crash downstairs just a little longer, we promise there are more dinners coming your way! 

First & Foremost: Storage.
While we have been crashing with my family, the majority of our belongings have been housed in a storage unit.  We cleared out our unit right away so we can save on that extra cost! 

Second: Clean.
This one is pretty obvious - do a serious clean of the whole house, especially the upstairs for now. We are lucky because the previous owners left the house in pretty decent condition, but who doesn't want to start fresh?

Third: Floors.  
Fortunately for us only the dining/living room and the hallway have wall-to-wall carpet and there are gorgeous hardwood floors underneath.  To match the two bedrooms, we will pull up the carpet, sand and stain.  Brennan has started this process and it is SO amazing to see the beautiful hardwoods!

Fourth: Paint.  
Paint the dining and living rooms, master bedroom, and the bathroom.  I'm pretty lucky that I was able to sell Brennan on my color choices; however, the bright green bathroom didn't fly...