Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Master Bathroom Renovations

The dumpster has been order. Sledgehammer pulled out. "Before" pictures taken. Outdoor shower commissioned. Budget planned and ideas pinned. Sounds like its about time for another project at the Coughlins!

The Upstairs Bathroom Renovation starts in T minus 1 day…

1 day until our house becomes a construction zone. Again. Until walls are ripped down, wiring exposed and our house becomes a dust bowl.  I am pumped for this project - it is just about the only thing I wanted done to this house. Two years later and 8 rooms down, this ugly duckling is going to turn into a swan. Goodbyeeeee red laminate countertops, awkward cabinets, speckled floor and gross shower.

Hellooooo airy, crisp, new, dreamy bathroom...

Bathroom Remodel

It'll be a long time until these ideas come to fruition, but a girl can dream, right?! 

Have any great ideas for our new bathroom? Any secrets to renovating a small bathroom space?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Moneypit Monday: Nautical Stairway Reveal

This weekend wasn't our usual house project weekend. As New England starts to awaken from its winter hibernation, so begins the photography season and boat building crunch. IE. Andrew and I worked all weekend.  No complaints here, it just means the house projects were put on hold. Except for one...the final "step" in finishing the staircase.

This staircase used to look like this...

Dirty cracked paint, worn treads, and old looking spindles. The stair treads were the easy part - a hard sanding starting with 60 grit and working our way to 220, then a coat of sealer and 4 coats of poly. Easy enough as we've already refinished the floors in 3 rooms and a hallway.

The moldings and risers on the other hand, a little more time consuming. In fact, we learned quickly that all the moldings, risers, and banister had never been primed. Just painted over with coat after coat, hence the cracking. So for two weeks after our 9 to 5's, Andrew and I poured a glass of something, put on some tunes, and scraped back the old paint, tread by tread. And then we continued to pour a glass of something for each and every "sanding party" for a week. Then came the fun part. Paint.

The spindles were the final step and also the most dreaded part of it all. Sanding down 15 spindles by hand with all the tiny details would not be a joyous occasion. Luckily a friend of mine sent me an idea from Pinterest at Completely-Coastal.com that was just our style. The decision was made and this is how it came out…

As you can guess, its probably not up to code, but we love it and are thrilled to have put our mark on another project in our fixer upper. 

What are some other creative staircase ideas out there???

Thursday, April 23, 2015


This past week Andrew and I had the great opportunity to sail in the Les Voiles de St. Barth's with some of our dearest friends, with some of the most impressive boats in the world, in the waters of one of the most pristine islands in the world.

We spent a week living out of duffles, sailing fast around the course, drinking Ti Punch at Jimmy Buffett's favorite bar La Select, exploring the white sand beaches and cooling off in the crystal turquoise waters. Sounds too good to be true? It wasn't. I wish I was lying, but this place was more beautiful and pristine than any of the 26+ Caribbean islands I've visited.

And all the while, I was reading Gretchen Rubin's "Happier at Home".

It seemed like an odd choice of books to be reading as I was surrounded by such a magical place. So removed from the pressures of everyday life and my home reality, but at the same time, it was the perfect read for this time and place. I'm certainly not unhappy at home, but sometimes my "there sounds better than my here".

You see, now and then, Andrew and I dream of leaving all this behind. Trading in our house for a sailboat. Seeing more of the world. Freeing ourselves from the material things we have quickly accumulated in 2 short years and taking the stress of owning a house from our lives. We are not hamster wheel people.  We don't believe in waiting until retirement to do things. We believe in the now. We are square pegs trying to fit in round holes. 

Every time we pack those duffles, we get a sweet taste of what life could look like if we just left it all behind. We also get ideas for where the next adventure might take us.

As I continued to delve into Rubin's book, I was reminded of a few truths: "the true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of the daily life"; "each time of life has its own kind of love"; and "the only person I can change is myself".

When the last page was turned, I closed the book and felt clarity.  Like my mind was suddenly a vast field with big puffy clouds and wild flowers as far as I could see. A powerful sense of peace.

Our possessions, our people, our marriage, that is home. It is where I feel comfortable, where I thrive, where I continue to chase this idea of happiness. At this time and place in our lives, I don't want to move to a dreamy caribbean island. I don't want to uproot my life, my emotions or my home. I am genuinely happy with where we live and where we are building memories. I am also happy to continue visiting the dreamy caribbean islands and seeking new adventures.

And at the end of each adventure, I want to come home.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Can't Live Without It Linkup


Happy Friday everyone!

Today I am joining my friend Stephanie's "Can't Live without It" Linkup. Stephanie and I have known each other since we were itty bitty. Our moms have been best friends since high school, we've been on family vacations together, celebrated each other's weddings, yadda yadda. Now Stephanie has an itty bitty and writes a hilarious lifestyle blog, highlighting the last two years she was stuck up in Bangor, Maine. As a fellow New Englander, I feel her pain...

On this rainy Friday morning in Rhode Island, I can't live without my Harney & Sons tea! Y'all, I love this brand - everything from the sweet tin boxes to the unique tea flavors, Harney & Sons is my go to in the morning. "Paris" is my new favorite flavor and it puts me in a good place for the morning. Just enough caffeine to get me going.

I wrote about my tea addiction just 7 months ago and it's still the same. Coffee makes me hyper, uber focused, and like a crazy lunatic. Seriously, coffee and I have a love hate relationship.

The alarm goes off, I kiss my husband, put on slippers, and start the tea kettle. That's the morning ritual...can't live without it!

These gorgeous ceramic tea cups from the Harney website might be on my next "can't live without it"...

What can't you live without??


Monday, April 6, 2015


Pastels. Candy. Bunnies. Easter bonnets and monograms. Daffodils. Family time.

What's not to love about Easter?!? 

Andrew and I hosted Easter yesterday and the love and excitement in my house made me smile.
That smile was for the loving people that surrounded us; the house that we have worked so very hard to make our home; my husband and the family that I have gained in the last year.

Sometimes I find myself sad that we can't spend most holidays with my family - the thought of a 10 hour drive up I-95 scares us all off! We savor those holidays that we do get together, but they seem few and far between…

The holidays have always been a big deal in my family. My mom always knows how to decorate, cook, and shower us with gifts for the occasion.  Now, Andrew and I have created our own family of two and we love sharing this home with those we love. Now its my turn to shower my niece and nephews with gifts; cook delicious food that we can gather around the table for; and decorate my home with my style, and all the imperfections that come with it.

I get that from my momma. Her southern roots run deep and I've learned from the best!

It's been awhile since I shared something outside of our home improvements and these memories were too perfect not to share. Here's our Easter in photos...

Breaking out the wedding china!! 

Thank you Target for the cute pails, Chateau & Bungalow for the book, and Newport Sweet Shoppe for the cookies! 

You guys! Look!! There is candy!! Everywhere!!! 

Happy Easter! 
xoxo, The Coughlins
Blogging tips