Cottage Recap: Bed & Bath

It’s been about 6 weeks since our last visit to the cottage and I’m already missing it something fierce.  Maybe its because I don’t know exactly when our next trip up there will be.  I’m sure it will be sometime later this fall or early winter but it never feels quite soon enough.  I’ve realized having a “countdown”makes me feel better.

Since I’m feeling a little homesick for our cottage, I can’t think of  a better time for another look back at our remodel…this time at the bedroom & bathroom.  In case you missed them in my previous posts, I have already recapped the exterior and the living/dining space.

here we go…ready for for a facelift

first things first…we decided to “flip” the two spaces

just like everywhere else…we went down to the studs and started over

 drywall, paint, cork floors, & white washed wood plank ceilings

   New everything…flooring, fixtures & finishes


behind door # 1 & door #2….

a perfectly compact & cozy bedroom

and a bright and open bathroom

The next and final recap will be the kitchen, stay tuned!



Hidden Gems

Tucked away in southern Indiana and nearly surrounded by the Hoosier National Forrest are the small towns of French Lick and West Baden Springs.  Here you will find French Lick Resort and the neighboring West Baden Springs Hotel….hidden gems basically in the middle of nowhere.

Last weekend, Mark planned an overnight getaway as a surprise early Birthday celebration for me and it was amazing.  I’ve got to start by giving him all the credit for this post even coming to fruition.  It was the first time visiting for the both of us and we were blown away.  This might end up sounding like some kind of paid promo but I promise it is not, just our sincere opinions.

The history of the two properties is intriguing…both beautiful and tragic depending on the decade.  They sufferred through financial downfalls, multiple changes in ownership and even near collapse.  It is somewhat of a miracle these beauties are even still standing.   Instead of giving you all of the backstory, you can read all about it here  if it strikes your fancy.  One of the most interesting things we learned was that a big reason behind the location was the presence of mineral springs in the area…which explained the occasional sulfer smell.

It  might be somewhat of a cliche to say “the pictures don’t do it justice” but its true.  Even though I’m about to inundate you with photos, I could have easily taken hundreds more.

We arrived a few hours before check-in so we started out by touring French Lick Resort, even though our room was reserved at West Baden.  From the moment we walked in my eyes were darting all over the place.  Everything from the lobby to the gardens was perfectly decorated and maintained.

It felt like we could have been on the set of some glamourous old Hollywood movie.

To travel between French Lick and West Baden you can simply drive the short one mile, but what’s the fun in that? They offer a railway car that travels on its own track between the two properties all day long.


Just Like French Lick…West Baden was stunning both inside and out.  Between the two, it was my favorite since it was a little less busy and more out of the way.

The real show stopper is the atrium, which the entire hotel surrounds…it is breathtaking.  We couldn’t decide if it was more impressive during the day or at night.

Gorgeous details are EVERYWHERE… from tilework, to stained glass, ornate trim and rich upholstery.

Our room was no exception, but in addition to being beautiful it was functional and comfortable…hands down the most comfortable hotel bed I’ve ever slept in.

There is plenty to do here without ever having to step foot off of the properties…multiple restaurants and bars, a casino, golf course, spa, riding stable and shops, all of which I somehow missed getting any photos of…oops.

If you want to venture out further, like we did,  the two small towns offer some charming shops and even a winery…I recommend the Chambourcin Rose, two bottles came home with us.

Somehow French Lick Resort & West Baden Springs Hotel have managed to be peaceful and luxurious without being pretentious.  I imagine this is why they have both received AAA Four-Diamond ratings.  The weekend was about as close to perfect as I could imagine but for the sake of transparency I will share the only few cons I can think of:

1) We did not strike it rich at the casino 2) Our service at dinner was very slow but thankfully the food was good and they discounted our bill 3) I ended up with blisters from all of the walking…but that was probably my fault for wearing the wrong shoes

If you are looking for destination for a weekend trip or a romantic getaway I can’t recommend this place enough.  We’ve already been talking about our next trip back!


Cottage Recap: Living/Dining

For the first Cottage Recap we looked back at the exterior transformation. Now it’s time to move inside to the living/dining area.  One open space that will get the most use by far…including as a guest room.  I’m happy to report, according to our FIRST overnight guests, the pull-out couch is actually comfortable!

MARCH 2016: There were some charming rustic features but we ended up taking everything out so we could start with a blank slate

We salvaged/recycled as much as possible, down to the studs

We were able to raise the ceiling and play with the footprint

New insulation, drywall, sub-floor & wood planks…so many wood planks

This is when things started to get really exciting…painting & flooring

And then my favorite part…decorating and “moving in”

SUMMER 2018: Completed living/dining space = LOVE

The finishing touch was “Mark’s chair.” A recliner that was heavily debated and required a good amount of searching.  Thankfully, we found one we could agree on.

Now we can relax & enjoy!


Cheers To 50 Years

This past weekend Mom & Dad celebrated 50 + years of marriage…how AMAZING IS THAT?!  Their anniversary was actually in January but they decided they would rather celebrate in the summer…because traveling in Northern Michigan in the middle of winter is less than ideal for most people.  Let me start by saying that my parents are truly incredible…loving, genuine, hard-working, generous, salt of the earth kind of people.  Not to mention that they have been each others’ best friends for over half of a century.  Biased or not, there is no one like them and they deserved a celebration as wonderful as they are.

Basically as soon as the date was set I started collecting and planning for the decorations. Mom & Dad are not fussy people and they did not want a fancy party. I stayed away from decorations covered in shiny gold glitter and the number 50, that’s just not their style. Instead I went with antique gold and ivory for more of a vintage vibe.

I started picking up items here and there…frames, lanterns, and miscellaneous accents from Hobby, Lobby, At Home, Gordmans, etc.  Surprisingly, I also ended up buying a lot of items on Amazon.  One of my favorite pieces was this wood slat wall hanging that I came across in the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby.  I decided to write out a portion of their wedding vows in gold paint pen to display at the party.

I laid things out a few times at home just to make sure everything went together.  When the time came to head to Michigan, I had everything packed up and ready to go.

The hall was a blank canvas, but unfortunately that came with some limitations.  No hooks, tacks, or tape of any kind were allowed which eliminated anything on the walls.

I focused most of my attention on the card & dessert tables and hung paper flowers from the ceiling.  The dining tables were simple…alternating gold & ivory table cloths, wrapped LED tealights, and little wood hearts carved with the word “love” scattered down the middle.

It it was a full house…full of family and friends from near and far

Due to a precarious weather forecast…not many decorations made it outside.  Thankfully the weather did cooperate so we could all enjoy some line dancing and a campfire-style sing-a-long and no one missed the decorations (except maybe me).

The night was full of love and laughter, which was the perfect way to celebrate such a special milestone and couple.  My only regret is that somehow I didn’t get a single photo of my parents together…hopefully someone did, time to ask around.

Cheers to you Mom & Dad


Cottage Recap: Exterior

If you’ve been following along (which we appreciate!) with the progress of our Cottage remodel/renovation, you may have already seen some of the reveals along the way.  However, I wanted to take some time over the next few posts to reflect back on the entire transformation, starting with the exterior…

where it all began, a cute little cottage ready for some TLC

the roof stayed, the rest went down to the studs

new siding, windows, etc…ready for a new deck

where we are today…SO IN LOVE

exterior final

For anyone that might be wondering, the front door paint color is Jitterbug and the deck stain is Canyon Brown 🙂

I’ll be back soon to continue with the interior.

Unitl next time,


My Story

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment my interest in interior design & decor sparked; but I do know it started at an early age…

In elementary school I remember walking through a house for sale with my parents and our realtor.  To this day I can vividly remember one of the bathrooms had large, dramatic black & white tile and a clawfoot tub.  I was disappointed when we didn’t buy that house because of that bathroom alone.  I also remember finding a vintage chair at a garage sale that I fell in love with but the fabric was terrible.  What 4th grader falls in love with a chair?  We had it re-upholstered and it was perfect. It was at that point I first learned the importance of looking for the potential.

A few years later, when I was in middle school, we started building our house.  Mom & Dad asked for our input when it came to our bedrooms.  The one thing I wanted was hardwood floors.  They indulged me and it was the only room in the house that wasn’t carpet. Again, what 6th grader cares about their bedroom flooring choice?

Throughout high school I watched Trading Spaces almost obsessively, and liked having a bedroom that was put together. Don’t get me wrong, I still had the messy teenager room at times, but probably mild compared to many of my peers.

I went into the Interior Design program at GRCC after highschool and a few years later went through the C.I.D International coursework to become a Certified Interior Decorator.  There was a lot of valuable information in these programs.  However, I have learned the most from personal experiences over the last decade or so. Experiences like: moving into different rentals where you have to be creative in making a space your own, decorating with virtually no budget, Mark and I going through first renovation together, and a complete remodel of our Cottage which has been our biggest undertaking to date.  Not to mention our current house will always be a work in progress, even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I have never been a decorator or designer by profession.  Most of my projects have been personal or for family and friends.  I enjoy being the “go-to” person for people I know when it comes to consulting on paint colors or picking out fabrics or wall decor.  Over the years we have been together, Mark’s interest has also grown and he has developed very good taste (I’ll take partial credit for that).  It might still be a hobby at this point, but that could change in the future.  Whatever the case may be, I’d say this passion of mine isn’t going anywhere after 25 (ish) years and I enjoy sharing it with you.


What’s your story? I’d love to hear it.





Cottage: Bath Reveal

Between being on vacation and trying to get caught up after being on vacation…I have slacked on my updates, but I am here today to remedy that.

We were able to use our shower for the first time!  To refresh your memory, we had some unexpected issues that had to be addressed before our plumbing could fully function.  Now all is WELL.  See what I did there? 🙂  Moving on…

Here we are once again, looking back at how far our little cottage has come:



another closer look 

Given the small size of the cottage, we ended up pleasantly surprised at the amount of space we were able to get in the bathroom.  I kept the blue/grey/natural color palette that goes through the rest of the cottage with the addition of few orange accents.

One of my favorite features of the bathroom are the cabinet knobs (pictured above) that are a near perfect match to the colors/pattern of the shower curtain.  I purchased the shower curtain about 2 1/2 years ago on clearance at BB&B.  I found the knobs on Amazon about 2 months ago.  This may seem like no big deal to you, but details like this make me giddy.  Different brands, stores, etc….and yet they look like they belong together.  Coincidence or meant to be?

Have a great weekend!



Auction Finds

By now you probably know that Mark and I love going to auctions.  A couple of weekends ago we spent our Saturday morning at a local estate auction run by our favorite auctioneer.  At first, nothing stood out that we planned on bidding on…then we took a second look, a third, and so on.  We ended up hitting the jackpot.  THIS is exactly why we love auctions, you never know what you will end up with.  Case in point…


  • 3 sets of Edgar Allan Poe books
  • antique candy scale
  • fowl feather artwork
  • Williamsburg slipware trencher platter

Bidding on and winning an item is only half the fun (well maybe more like 75% thanks to the adrenaline rush) the rest is figuring out how to incorporate what we buy into our home.  It takes an open mind to think of how items can be used or repurposed.

This time around, I started with the books to makeover our mantel with a few other pieces we already had. It took a few attempts at rearranging to get it “just right”.afterlightimage-26

My favorite piece out of this group is the candy scale, which is now a centerpiece on our kitchen table and also has the perfect spot to hold a small candle.  I think it was made for our house.



Mark’s favorite item is the trencher platter, he picked it out.  It is now on display on the kitchen counter and is also currently holding a candle.  Apparently I turn everything into a candle holder.  It is a very unique piece that I’m glad he spotted, he has a good eye!


Last, but not least, the fowl feather artwork.  Small and simple and a perfect accent in our guest room.  For my own peace of mind, I am convincing myself that no birds were harmed in the making of this piece 🙂


Let me finish by saying, not every auction is this much of a success. Sometimes it is hit-or-miss but that is part of why we enjoy going, it is always a gamble.  Here is a little more insight into our love for auctions for anyone who might be interested.

If you are a fellow auction enthusiast, please share! Experiences, favorite buys, etc…


Cottage: Well…shoot (UPDATE)

WellThis photo may not be pretty but it is very exciting for us…

If you remember from this post we received the unfortunate news in March that the well for our cottage needed to be replaced.   After the permits were squared away we were added to the list of a local well drilling service.  We have been waiting ever since for the weather to cooperate long enough for a solid date.  As a temporary solution when we were up to visit, Dad rigged a hose system from their house to the cottage so we could at least use the toilet and faucets (not enough pressure to shower). Don’t worry , we showered at Mom & Dad’s.

Yesterday afternoon they started drilling. Once complete our cottage will be fully functional…just typing that makes me smile.





Cottage: Kitchen Reveal

Why does it always feel like long/holiday weekends seem to go too fast and the “short” work week after seems to drag on? Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way…

Anyway, over Memorial Day weekend we were back in Michigan enjoying time with family and in our little cottage.  Since it was a relatively short trip, the only work we did was hang a few things on the walls and clean/organize.  Most of the previous progress pics of the kitchen have highlighted the butcher block or shelves , so I figured it was time for a full reveal…





The kitchen isn’g quite 100% complete yet, but it is getting close (note the tape and stickers still on the oven). There are a few minor items including hardware, we have yet to pick out, that we will take care of when we are back in July.

Before I end, let me take a quick moment to zoom in on this adorable wine rack we found at a flea market.  We are now officially stocked and ready for an evening glass of wine on the deck this summer…priorities right?



Magic in Mexico

On 5/5 we left for Cancun for 5 days for our 5 year anniversary…it just happened to work out that way while planning but it seemed like a good omen.  This post is a bit of a detour from my normal home/decor topics but I feel like it is worth sharing and I hope you agree.  Very shortly after we got back I posted some photos on Facebook and IG but I wanted to take a little more time to give credit to the wonderful place we stayed.

Delta offers a direct flight from Indianapolis to Cancun…that part was a no brainer.  After  some research we picked the Riu Palace Las Americas.  I cannot recommend this place enough…seriously.  This was our first experience an all-inclusive for both of us and it was worth EVERY DANG PENNY!

At check in we were promptly greeted with glasses of chilled champagne.  When the manager discovered we were celebrating our anniversary, she upgraded our room to their best available suite, free of charge…talk about great first impressions.  We tried to act cool about it, but as soon as we got to our room and were by ourselves we promptly LOST ALL CHILL.

We are not “free upgrade” people, we are “I’m sorry there has been a mistake” people.

Every single inch of the resort, inside and out, was IMMACULATE.  We were constantly in awe.  Most of these photos do not give this place justice…not even close

First…the lobby and our suite

The terrace and the view from our room felt like were like nothing I had ever seen in person

The entire resort was immaculate, honestly breathtaking


Most of our time was spent lounging by the pools or the beach, we intentionally did not plan any excursions.  We had no concept of what time it was, we left our phones on airplane mode, it was the most relaxed I have ever been.  It was heaven.

The food was good (surprisingly the buffet was our favorite dining spot), the drinks were strong and plentiful, the service and the facilities were top-notch.

Since nothing is ever 100% “perfect” I will share the  only complaints we could come up with, if that’s even what you would call them…

1. The handle on the toilet in our bathroom was a little jiggly…but was promptly fixed

2. One day Mark ordered a screw driver with breakfast and they brought a mimosa

3. Apparently the pool bars do not open until 10:00 AM (which actually seems pretty reasonable)

A very sweet touch was a bottle of sparkling wine delivered to our room while we were at dinner with a note and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries for our anniversary


Before we left, we had several people express concern about traveling to Cancun.  I feel like it should be common sense when traveling anywhere, especially abroad, you should exercise a certain level of caution and awareness, this was no different.  There wasn’t a single moment that we felt unsafe.


We have missed this place since the moment we left and are already planning our next trip to another Riu resort.  Maybe for our 10 year…probably sooner 🙂



Front Door Refresh

afterlightimage-1Our front door was boring…a lot of brown & beige blandness.  I’m not exactly sure how or when I let this happen but this week I decided to remedy the situation. I did not want to spend a lot of time or money, and wanted to utilize what we already had…a quick & easy fix.

All the new additions purchased from Target with the exception of the plants from Lowes. We bought the grinder at an estate auction last year and it has been sitting in the same spot ever since…not living up to its full potential.  I found this shallow galvanized planter which fit in it perfectly to add some trailing greenery.

I decided to stick with green as a subtle pop of color.  I added a hanging fern, buffalo plaid indoor/outdoor rug and mini boxwood wreath.  I have been loving the look of layered rugs lately…I wish I would have thought of it sooner.

This little project cost right around $50 and only took a few minutes to put together once I purchased everything.  This is a perfect example of  how not all changes have to be drastic or expensive.

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately, it has taken me some time to get back in the swing of things after vacation.  I’ll make sure to post soon about our trip to Mexico.

Have a great weekend!


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