Category / For the Home

The Guest Bedroom

This room has been painted, with a door, and a bed for quite some time. But when we learned we’d be hosting company last week, we kicked it into high gear to finish out some of the details.

While Page worked in the bathroom next door, I did my best to pull together some little details to make this room comfortable for our guests (and yes…maybe benefit us long after they leave when one of us is sick or snoring – the other often ends up down here!) ūüėČ

I scored a dresser at our local HomeGoods for a song, and we added a spare TV from storage, connected our Hulu to it, and framed all the passwords for our guests. ūüôā

I’d like to find a prettier standing mirror eventually, but for the time being we hung a smaller one behind the door for getting dressed.

There’s nothing worse than being too hot or cold — this room runs particularly cold in the basement, but I made sure a spare blanket was easy to find if needed.

I’m so pleased with how light and airy this space feels for being a basement room with only an egress window to provide light.

When Crew was over his sound machine from babyhood, it made sense to keep it down here for those who like white noise. (Dohm makes the BEST sound machines, if you’re in the market!) I also added a wall USB/iphone charger because I am the POSTER girl for traveling and forgetting a charger cable.

One of my favorite details in the room is the “Hotel” print¬†— and the colors work so perfectly on the wall color.

Much of what we used in this room was repurposed from elsewhere in the house and no longer available to link online (sheets are Garnet Hill, and the duvet, bedside table, and lamp are all IKEA, if you can luck out in store), but sharing what I can!

house tissue box¬† |¬† pennant fixture¬† |¬† Dohm sound machine¬† |¬† paint color is Sherwin Williams “Faint Coral”

Finished! The Guest Bathroom

The guest bathroom in our basement level is completed! Do you hear the angels singing?!

Some out of town friends coming to visit was just the push we needed to pony up the last dollars and burst of energy needed to bring this three-quarter bath to completion.

We are thrilled with the result and I’m swooning in bathroom heaven. Per usual, Page whipped out his mad DIY skills to build the vanity to scale. He did all of his own plumbing work (seriously…I did not even know this about him when I married him…score!) hooking up our shower and sink and toilet and installing all the plumbing fixtures.

I don’t like when things get too “matchy” so combining fixtures in both shiny chrome (already in our door handles) and matte black (to echo the dark floor tile and shower grout) struck the right note for me.

My very favorite part is thinking through all the little details — spare (stylish) toothbrushes, the cutest little overpriced travel toothpaste I’d never splurge on for myself, soaps, lotions, and everything else someone away from home might need.

The beauty of a bathroom that isn’t heavily used on a regular basis is that you don’t end up with all the “stuff” of a daily use bathroom. All we needed in here were a couple of towels and a bath mat stashed under the sink with a basket for extra toilet paper, and a quick spray paint “first aid” box project to hold some basics for our guests.

Thanks for peeking in! And if you need me I’ll just be over here tile-gazing and soaking in the success of (finally) checking this project off the list!

Products used:  shower curtain  |  curtain rod  |  curtain hooks

faucet  |   sink  |   sconces  |   shower head set

hair dryer bag  |   towel hook  |   toothbrushes  |   TP holder

5 Little Things I’m Doing to Improve My (and My Family’s) Health

Between the start of the year (resolution/goals mindset) and the coming of Spring (well, someday! we are due more SNOW this week!), I’ve been more health/goal minded and craving some changes and healthier habits in my (and my family’s) day-to-day routines. I’ve found I have more success implementing smaller changes, a couple at a time, than trying to overhaul, getting overwhelmed (or distracted) and undoing any good I’ve done, altogether.

I’m no expert, and I don’t sell or represent any brands mentioned, but I’m feeling really good about these five little things I’m making the rule instead of the exception in my everyday:

1. packing my lunches
I’ve been trying to be more intentional about including more fruits and veggies and proteins, and not buying my lunches out (which adds up quickly) on workdays. It truly is easier to dedicate a half hour or so on Sunday nights to portion out some lunches for the next three days. I find it easiest to just eat the same thing, times three, and change it up from week to week rather than daily. I quickly realized I was burning through ziploc bags, so I ordered myself one of the Lunchbots tins (mine is the “trio large”) and I LOVE how easy it is to pack, rinse, and re-use from one day to the next. (Also — if you follow the Lunchbots instagram account, it’s full of fresh snack/meal ideas for packing adult and kid lunches, alike!)

2. switching to natural deodorant
Over Christmas, a friend mentioned loving this brand of natural deodorant and I made a mental note. Then, after another friend’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, she mentioned making the switch to a natural deodorant, and I was inspired to do the same. Ursa Major happened to be the first brand I tried and I’ve been VERY pleased. I haven’t had much in the way of “detox symptoms” that some people talk about, but I think it’s also probably easier to make the switch now before the heat season comes. I also just think this particular brand is THAT good and worth the money. I’m kind of  obsessed with it and love the smell and tingly sensation. It feels so fresh and I love knowing everything in it is SAFE. (Also — if your skin is sensitive to baking soda — common in natural deodorants — they also make a “no B.S.” version here.)

3. throwing out our vegetable oil (and peanut oil and canola oil)
A friend of mine is a nutritionist and I’ve been stalking – er, following – all her delicious recipes and posts here. When she mentioned getting vegetable oils out of your life, I was intrigued and googled a bit further. This article is a great read on why to make the switch, if you need further convincing! And this change was SO easy to do. I simply tossed what we had, bought an olive oil spray in place of Pam for nonstick uses, and the mega jar of Coconut Oil home from Costco for anything else that would normally call for oil. I find myself checking labels a bit more for instances of these oils, but I’m not overly crazy about it. Again, it’s about small steps and implementing changes at reasonable rates.

4. experimenting with natural household products 
I’ve admittedly found it a bit “hippie” in the past, but after so many new options on the market and constant new research to support them, I’ve taken a new interest in the products I bring into my home. I recently played around on the Think Dirty app to score some items we’re already using. Some passed with flying colors…and others failed miserably. So I feel like I have a good list of places to start using up and replacing sooner than later. I’ve always been rather intentional about choosing natural products when it comes to Crew, but even in that arena, as we’ve moved away from the “baby phase” it gets easier to slip up. I’ve recently purchased this body wash for his bathtime and love it (we did the lavender scent, but they’re all delicious). We also switched to Trader Joes all natural laundry detergent (loooove the smell). Easy swaps, little changes.

I’ve also been playing more and more with essential oils (I’m not loyal to any one brand, but do your research to make sure you are buying 100% pure, therapeutic grade and no filler stuff). I ditched dryer sheets long ago and now add a few oil drops to my wool dryer balls and incorporating them into rollerballs (I’m using these) and a couple DIY cleaners, linen sprays, and more (in these bottles). I’m still learning and experimenting, but I’m particularly interested in using them for allergy relief as that season approaches.

5. drinking apple cider vinegar 
This is not a new one for me, but I fall out of the habit and am being intentional about reincorporating it. I’ve been trying to cut back on alcohol, so instead of taking a glass of wine to my nightly Netflix wind-down, I pour a big glass of ice water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. A run-down of the many benefits of incorporating this (easy peasy) habit into water you are already drinking can be found here.

Post contains affiliate links.

My Photography Gear

recommended camera gear | www.29thanddelight.com

I’ve done a LOT of purchasing, experimenting, selling, and swapping my gear out since I really started to get serious about photography a few years ago. A huge piece of getting the right gear is figuring how and what you like to shoot. For me, I photograph families, my own included, and a few interior stills here and there. (I’m also a Canon girl from the start, so I’m sorry, I can’t answer many questions about Nikon or other brands!)

Here’s the rundown of my camera gear:

Canon 6D // My very first “real” camera was a Canon Rebel with kit lens (my model is no longer available, but the equivalent is here) and it’s a wonderful camera with which to begin. If you’re just starting out, this dSLR is plenty powerful as you learn the ins and outs of shooting in manual mode. The 6D, my current body, is a full-frame camera (as opposed to the Rebel which has a cropped sensor), which means the sensor is larger and able to “gather” more information from an image. For example, it performs better in lower light (wonderful for me, as I love to shoot without flash when possible). In my mind, the “ultimate” that I’ve never quite been able to justify is the MarkIV, whose most noticeable difference is the ability to shoot images onto two SD cards simultaneously. For photographers who shoot “unrepeatable” events (births, weddings, things you can’t recreate later), this dual-slot feature is a must-have, in the awful instance an SD card malfunctions, the images are backed up on a second card. There are of course other bells, whistles, and improvements in performance, but I’ve found for what I shoot, the 6D is the perfect “mother size” bowl of porridge.

85mm lens // I began with various zoom lenses and quickly learned I’m a prime lens girl. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, meaning you can’t zoom in and out — you use your feet to get closer or farther away from your subject.  It’s a personal preference and prime doesn’t always fit every need, but they are tack sharp lenses and let in more light (always the ultimate goal!). I LOVE my 85mm for portraits — it creates beautiful background blur and a comfortable shooting distance (not TOO in baby’s face, but not so far away I’m yelling directions at people).

(Honorable mention: the uber-popular “nifty fifty” (50mm) is a FANTASTIC, budget-friendly prime lens with which to start. It’s also nice and compact, ideal for travel. Newborn cutie, above, was shot with this lens!)

28mm lens // This is the best lens for capturing a wide scene (like this family and the cityscape) and it’s ideal for when I need to shoot a group of people in tight spaces. I also think it’s fun for the whimsy of slightly distorted close-ups of children (not as flattering on adults, FYI!). This lens is also great for interior shots, although some prefer to go even wider, I don’t personally care for the shots of interiors that are SO distorted they feel fake and every wall is curved like a fun house. Must-have lens in my book.

200mm lens // I use this the least, but I’m still so glad to have it when I do. I envision using it even more now that Crew is getting into sports and activities where I can’t be quite so close but still want to capture detail. (In the shot above, Page was at the bottom of a pretty big hill, several yards away.) It captures beautiful, crisp detail, and in part because of the length, creates gorgeous background blur. My first telephoto (long) lens was HEAVY and HUGE. I like that I can be more discreet in a crowd, but still photograph from a reasonable distance, with this one.

430 speedlite // Gorgeous light just isn’t always available. I rarely use flash, but this one has been working for me from the beginning. It’s nice to have just in case a room is less well lit than I hoped when I show up to an in-home session, and the ability to bounce the light in other directions (aka NOT right at your subject — hello, deer in headlights!) allows for more flattering final images. (Budget note: If you don’t think you will use flash all that much, I’ve heard from several photogs that they have been very pleased with cheaper, off-brand alternatives like this one.)

Gary Fong diffuser // I’ve had this on my list for a while and after seeing a photographer bust his out recently at an event I attended, I asked for it for Christmas. I had to know if it was all it was cracked up to be as a complement to my speedlite — and it totally is, as I used it on the above interior shot on a VERY gloomy day. To me — it’s a nonnegotiable now, and I love that the images don’t scream “I used my flash in this one!!”. If you’re going to buy a flash, don’t buy it without this counterpart.

wireless remote // A must if you want to get IN some pictures! You can set the timer all you want, but sometimes it’s nice to just know exactly when that camera is clicking. You can easily hold this discreetly in your hand while cuddling up to your favorites and snap away. (Tip: posing yourself without showing the remote takes a little practice — but it’s small, and in the above shot, it’s hidden in my left hand.)

Other Notes:

Camera bag — I don’t have one! I’m that risk-taker who throws a spare lens into the pocket of my vest and goes — for now. (I HAVE tried and discarded a couple options so far. If you have suggestions, please send them my way!)

Editing — I shoot in RAW and edit in Photoshop ACR (although Lightroom is another great option).

Online storage / Business website — For my rather simple needs (ClickSmith is a small part-time gig for me), Zenfolio has been my vendor of choice.

Photography Classes — Online, I loved the 101 and 102 courses at Shoot FLY Shoot when I was first getting started. If you’re in the Des Moines area, I HIGHLY recommend ALL of the classes at Christian Photo in Urbandale.

ETA: Crew does not yet have his own camera (the one pictured came in a happy meal!) — but I’m looking seriously at this one to get him started!

*Post contains affiliate links.

our master bedroom (and a cozy update)

Master Bedroom | www.29thanddelight.com

I haven’t shared much of our master bedroom since we moved in almost three years ago. But as the temps dropped this fall, I was ready to cozy up the summery-feeling bedding I had in there, and make a couple other small changes as well.

Because of our geriatric bed (two adjustable twin mattresses on a king frame), I’m pretty locked into the plain white sheets we currently use — otherwise I’d be buying three sets of some cute design to get the two twin fitted, one king flat, and various sized pillowcases I’d need to outfit our bed. So keeping the sheets white, I brought home a flannel duvet/sham set, and added some velvet, waffle knit, and faux fur. Just give me all the comfy textures for cold weather!

Master Bedroom | www.29thanddelight.com

The wrapping up of the year always means we’ve recently updated our family photos, and our bedroom is one particular spot I love to have those on display. So I’ve been swapping out a couple here and there and adding a couple more frames.¬†A couple of new candles with woodsier/wintery scents and the seasons have officially clicked in this room.

The only furniture in here aside from the bed are our two nightstands (you can read more about how we hacked these from IKEA furniture here).

Page made the oversized floor mirror (read more about here!) and I love the way the size balances out the high ceilings and our wardrobes, just to the right of it.

Just before snapping these pics, we did some serious donating and consigning in our wardrobes (which we still LOVE — read more about how we built them here) and in our closet. Having less to keep organized is seriously helping the zen factor in here. Bring on winter – I’m happy to hunker down in here for a bit!

moved in: the flex room

flex room | www.29thanddelight.com

Peeking in on our flex room again…

flex room | www.29thanddelight.com

…We have some new lovelies setting up shop.

flex room | www.29thanddelight.com

These chairs are so comfortable and the mid-century vibe was exactly what I wanted more of in this room.

flex room | www.29thanddelight.com

flex room | www.29thanddelight.com

This¬†space finally feels pulled together to me with the¬†balancing of the sofa with¬†two chairs, and a coffee table¬†and floor lamp to ground it all. It’s fun to swap out the accent colors in here with the season and right I’m¬†playing around with mustard yellow and cozy gray flannels.

flex room | www.29thanddelight.com

Similar Sofa | Pom Pom Pillow | Gold Pillow | Floor Lamp

We hang out in this room a¬†LOT –more than I anticipated.¬† I think it’s the huge dose of sunshine and light/bright walls, the zen that comes with a toy-free/TV-free zone, and the room itself is just a cozier, more defined¬†space than some of the more open-concept parts of our home.

flex room | www.29thanddelight.com

Rug | Chairs | Dot Pillows | Brass Frames

The final thing we’d like to do in here is to add some built-ins. We want to draw attention to the high ceiling and dormer window above, so we’re talking through adding some chunky, open shelving beginning at chair rail height and staggering all the way to the break in the ceiling. Inspo picture from Yellow Brick Home below!

floatingshelves_yellowbrickhome

Source

…and here’s my quick and dirty sketch of where I’d place them.

ShelvingMockup

Shelves are one item on a very long list of projects right now (and Page is currently busy OUTSIDE our home building a project I can’t wait to share — soon!). I’m hopeful that this one might get ticked off the list while we’re inside and restless this winter. But until then, I’m enjoying this room that feels blissfully “finished”!

flex room | www.29thanddelight.com

A Garbage Truck-Themed Big Kid Room

Big Kid Room Garbage Truck Theme | www.29thanddelight.com

Even before we finished swapping the nursery and the big kid room, this oh-so-big kid was begging to sleep in here.¬†He had exactly zero issues making the transition to new bed and new room, and we haven’t looked back…although I have a hunch as to why this room is where he wants to be. ūüôā

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

I’ve always shied away from anything too “themed” when it comes to decorating —¬†cohesive pieces, yes — color palette, yep — so as I rolled around the idea of working in some garbage trucks here and there (along with other favorite things)¬†— I had to apply a little creative brainpower to make it COOL and not too cutesy or cheesy.

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

I tried not to invest too heavily in anything specific to garbage trucks,¬†thinking ahead to when he’s onto the “next thing” …although I can’t imagine that day now. I have videos over a year old on my phone from him captivated by the garbage truck. It’s been a nearly lifelong love affair for this nearly two-and-a-half-year-old.

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

It was fun to share the final room with Crew, who saw¬†the progress as it happened — furniture being moved in, crib being taken down, etc. But I waited to hang and place all the little details until one mad-dash evening¬†before bedtime, so he could walk in and see the whole effect. He had no idea it was going to be a “garbage truck room” and it made me so happy to watch him gasp and grin and count them as he found them around the room.

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(Cut to me trying to shoot this wall, and Crew pretending he’s important and walking in front of my camera chattering away on a toy cell phone *eye roll*)

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big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

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The “trash in my lamp!” was a big hit, as was the 3-foot-wide engineer’s print of him with “his” neighborhood truck. (A fun and different way to print your photographs — send to Staples¬†and for around 3 bucks, you get a gritty/grainy effect black/white large scale print.)

big kid garbage truck room | www.29thanddelight.com

The thing I didn’t quite foresee was what a hit the little vintage book would be — I like to incorporate something vintage¬†in each room of our house, and I thought this would serve as charming little decor detail if nothing else. Turns out we’ve read it (multiple) times daily since it appeared on his shelf. I love that Crew refers to it as his “new old garbage truck book” after I explained he had to be careful with the pages!

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

Garbage trucks aside, we brought in a couple favorite animals — a lion (his favorite to see at the zoo) and a crocodile on one of the throw pillows. The stars and the moon¬†are also both a big hit in his world. I liked Page’s idea to put the moon up high near the window, as opposed to my compulsive need to make everything part of an organized grouping in the room, and I love how it (and the wooden star) look against¬†the night sky paint color. Some glow stars on the ceiling were the final touch.

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I was able to reuse quite a bit¬†from his old room without it seeming babyish, as well as several things we already had on hand around the house. The corrugated metal letters were in his first room and seemed like a natural fit (he thinks they are made “out of trash cans”) and the concrete¬†and wood stool is less a side table now and more a perch for a certain someone to look out his window (for what else…the garbage truck, whose route he can now see from this room!) The duvet we had on hand from when this room was still a guest room. I added a stripe of green paint to a cork lampshade from his nursery, spray painted his¬†previously aqua “Things” bin to navy, and used white fabric paint to add a recycling icon to an Ikea pillow cover. A swap of hardware on his dresser (previously changing table) gave it a little¬†facelift as well.

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

I’d still like to find a headboard, but haven’t come across quite what I’m looking for yet. I’m waiting until we’re less in need of the bedrails before adding a nightstand (too many sheet-changing obstacles!), but I like the idea of this one that would match his shelves. I considered these a couple times, but ultimately we don’t store much besides books and clothing in his room (toys and more books are both in our loft playspace outside his room and, soon, in the basement playspace).

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

No¬†room tour would be complete without me patting myself on the back for cleaning out both rooms’ closets. Actually swapping the rooms around forced me to go through everything and move out the baby stuff. Hello, big boy closet space:

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

Thanks for checking out this little garbage enthusiast’s new digs!

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

Wishing you many happy memories in here, buddy, and lots of sweet dreams.

big boy garbage truck room | 29thanddelight.com

engineer print frame (Ikea, only available in store) | C pillow | crocodile¬†pillow | striped duvet | polka dot sheets | plaid shams¬†(Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available)¬†| wood monogram | bedrails | green metal shelf | vintage childrens books | garbage truck watercolor print | “you make me happy” print | tiny trash can | wire basket | Trashy Town book | trash can wastebasket¬†(Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available)¬†| garbage truck patent print | lion head | wooden star | Moon in My Room | “Things” bin | black¬†storage box | baby monitor | curtain panels | recycling¬†truck costume (Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available) | nightlight

Finishing the Basement: The Bathroom

Bathroom Inspiration Board | www.29thanddelight.com

Mirror | Sconces | Faucet
Paint color pictured is Sherwin Williams “City Loft” — see all of our paint picks here

I’m proud to say we’ve stayed remarkably on budget for this basement project, now that we have drywall, trim, paint, and electrical/fixtures all behind us. But we KNEW when we requested our first flooring/shower estimate that we were asking for all of the¬†“wants” on our wishlist. So somewhat expectedly, the estimate came back¬†and we choked. For the first time, we stopped to reevaluate a bit as to where we wanted to splurge, and save, to keep ourselves in check financially. Much of the estimate (and much of where we could reevaluate and save) was allocated to various elements of the bathroom.

I’ve had to remind myself that while I was living out all my bath tile dreams in the showroom, this is –¬†in fact – just the basement bathroom and the shower will only get used a handful of times a year, if that. It’s a must-have for our guests, but unless I plan on moving down to the basement level and making it my master, I could apply a little “look for less” to the plan. ūüôā #realitycheck

The inspo board above was put together while we were still picking items to estimate, but the overall look/feel will stay very much the same.¬†It was easy to identify the look we were going for in here — Pinterest is a great tool for gathering the styles that grab you time and again! My board quickly showed several trends and elements that needed to be incorporated, blending classic tile with restoration-style light fixtures, a pivot mirror, window pane shower doors,¬†an open-concept vanity with exposed plumbing, and a mix of¬†black and chrome¬†hardware.

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source | source | source

The beauty of going back and swapping out materials is that a) the challenge is kind of fun to see how much you can save for a similar effect, and b) once I settle on the new option, I often forget what I had even planned on doing the first time around. Picking a different but very similar floor tile will save us over 50% of the original estimate, as did shopping around for our subway tile and hiring our own installer. We’ve planned all along to hack our own vanity, similar to what we did in the basement of our first house. In part, this saves us money, and we haven’t found any ready-made options¬†out there that aren’t well into the four digit price tags (keep repeating with me…it’s just the basement bathroom…). ūüôā

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I leave you with the current status of the bathroom –more to come soon!