We’re Buying a House!

Mandi Makes a New Home

You guys! Something absolutely crazy is happening in my life. On Saturday, April 1st (yes, April Fool’s Day), I asked Phil if he wanted to go to an open house for an amazing 1970s house I found on Zillow that had a CONVERSATION PIT in the living room! He said, “Sure!” We talked about how fun it would be to move, how ready we were, and how we should probably start getting our house ready to sell. Not that this ’70s house would be “the one.” But you know, this was a fun idea, and it made us realize we should probably gear up to sell our house and move on to the next adventure.

Fast forward to the next day, we attended the open house and fell in love. Should’ve seen it comin’. We wanted to put an offer in, and we were even pre-approved for a mortgage to do so. But we decided this was financially stupid, seeing as how we weren’t even close to being ready to put our house on the market. Two mortgages? Yeah, no.

So, I got on Instagram, shared the day through live videos, and then ended the day telling you all that we were going to put our house on the market in two weeks. Maybe we could get it on the market in time to put an offer in on that amazing ’70s house! Crazy, right?! But something even crazier happened the next day.

A friend of mine texted me to tell me he knew someone interested in our house. I let her see it that evening, and she was very interested. And Phil and I were very excited. That week, I barely slept. I worked on our house night and day, preparing it to sell. I wanted to move, and I wanted to move badly. Well, six days later we entered into contract with the absolute perfect buyer for our home, and had been crushed to find out our dream home was already in contract as well. Wow, what a whirlwind! I had been emotionally to the moon and back (and then back to the moon?) and while I was sad to have missed out on what I knew would’ve been an amazing house, I was excited about taking our time to find a new house, as we saved money while living with our parents while we waited. How many months would it take? We didn’t know. The thought of waiting and not knowing if or when to settle made me very stir crazy. Would we ever find what we wanted and in our budget?!

Mandi Makes a New Home

But then I found the above images on Zillow for a house I had scrolled past countless times— its lead image showed a boring looking home which lacked curb appeal— nothing about its exterior photos that would lead me to think this could be “the one.” I remember (because it wasn’t that long ago— ha!) clicking through the photos thinking, “Hmmm… I could work with that!” And Phil said, “You could work with that, but do you really love it? Is it really ‘the one’?” I said, “No, probably not.” But I made an appointment to see it the next day anyway. And wow— it was so perfect for us!

We had made a list of qualifications for our dream home, but figured we’d not be able to find a place that met all the criteria. At least, not in our price point. Still, we needed to start somewhere. So here’s what we put on our list:

An entryway separate from the rest of the house, a large kitchen open to a dining area big enough for my heirloom farmhouse table, a private office for Phil big enough for a sofa and chairs for his mentoring and Bible studies, an office for me that was big enough to work on all of my crafts and projects, a large great room with high ceilings, a basement with potential for finishing down the road, a room the kids could call their own (to house most of their toys), three bedrooms, two baths, a two car garage, a decent yard, not on a busy road, in a nice neighborhood, and a house that was asking for cosmetic upgrades, but didn’t need big renovation done. WHEW! What a list, right? And did I mention, our budget was around 175k? Ha!

Well, what would you know, we sold our house and found that exact house (that met all of our criteria and then some— partially finished basement, 3 and a half baths, and a three car garage) and got it for the exact price we were hoping for! We are basically in shock. So much is changing so quickly, and my far off house dreams are coming true in such a short amount of time. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up and find out this was all a really fun dream. (Please don’t pinch me.)

Mandi Makes a New Home

If all goes according to plan (we trust God that it will), we’ll be  closing on our new house at the beginning of June and will be starting renovations on the first floor immediately. We are ripping out all of the flooring material, removing much of the cabinetry in the kitchen, rearranging the cabinetry to move the oven to a different wall, and oh, so much more! Check out my video tour of the house on my Facebook page here, and see my inspiration images for the house below. So excited to share this entire crazy journey with you guys!

click images to see where I found each one

white living room earthy accents

Floating shelving around floor to ceiling fireplace

Open Pantry System

california modern

velvet banquette

gray lower cabinets, white and gray subway tile

neutral kitchen with floating shelves

Living Room Progress

mandimakes living room

Slowly but surely, some really fun changes are happening in my home, and the living room is becoming transformed to a place of peace, rest, and fun! Most importantly, it’s a place where we all enjoy spending time together, and while I attribute that to familial affection, I also like to think that my recent decorating decisions have something to do with our enjoyment of the space. Check out this post from a month ago to see what I had originally planned for this room’s little makeover.

I’ve been focused on limiting the color palette of the room, and actually severely decreased the amount of art on the walls. In turn, the space feels calmer and the decor more intentional. The most dramatic change so far has definitely been the installation of shelving around the television in lieu of a gallery wall. I love the balance this wall of shelves has given to the room, and the additional surface space for houseplants allows for more chances to add life and in turn more calming, natural elements.

mandimakes living room

mandimakes living room

mid century boho living room details

links to above products: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / rug

This little living room refresh has turned into a bit of a bigger deal than I had originally planned (should’ve seen it comin’!), which prompted the selling of some of my old beloved home accessories in order to buy new things. (If you follow me on Instagram, you most likely caught wind of the sale, and you can still check out available items here!) I sold furniture, art, lamps, rugs, and more, which allowed me to buy some new things that aligned better with my vision for the space. See the link list under the image above to check out some of the new additions to our living room, though the toy storage credenza was a DIY project as featured on A Beautiful Mess, and my live-edge coffee table was part DIY/part Craigslist sourcing, and I’ll share more about that later.

Deciding to put doors on our toy storage situation was a huge change to my own enjoyment of this space! It’s minimized a lot of the plastic visible in the room, which makes the everything else feel more put together, even when there are toys all over the floor. Bonus— the kids don’t drag out as many toys because there are now doors between them and the toy bins!

Also, opting for a more organic shape coffee table was a great way to break up all of the angles and straight lines of most of the items in this room. Thank you, to those of you who suggested a different coffee table for this space! I’m in love! Adding a couple of knit poufs also helps with this, and is a great place for kids and extra guests to pop a squat next to the coffee table.

I did move the art (ski jumping guy) from the fireplace wall to over the sofa, and now there is nothing by the fireplace except for some plants— including a big ficus tree, all of which fill out the space quite nicely. So I’m not sure if I actually want to hang anything above the fireplace, or just leave it up to the plants to adorn this corner of the room. I’m digging the more minimal vibes of that white brick fireplace wall, so for now, plants it is! (Check out the new ficus in this recent post about houseplants.)

 And finally, the limited color palette really helps tie together everything in the room, which encompasses the media wall, the seating area, the play area, as well as the office area that all coexist in this room, which is actually a decent size for such a small ranch. (Keep in mine we have no other living space nor basement in our home.) Choosing something besides off-white for a rug helps ground the space, considering all the walls are white, and the dusty pink rug in the seating area provides contrast against the taupe terrazzo floors elsewhere in the room.

mandimakes living room

Things are coming along quite nicely in here! I’m just waiting on the new sofa slipcover from Comfort Works and a couple of styling touches, and then I’ll be ready to share the grand reveal with you all! I can’t thank you enough for your input on my last post about the living room, and all the helpful comments and encouragement on Instagram. The living room would be looking mighty different if it wasn’t for the input, and it definitely wouldn’t be coming along as well. So, thank you! -Mandi

Planning Kitchen Updates

Wood floating shelves kitchen


Okay, I know what you are probably thinking… “Update?! Didn’t she just give her entire kitchen an update?!” Well, yes, yes I did. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have the blogger itch to make changes every couple of years! Nothing big this time, but some superficial changes that will hopefully be an upgrade to my inexpensive choices the first time around, and in turn gelling better with the general style of my home. So, yeah! I’ve got a couple of projects in mind for the month of August! And I wanted to share it with you and get opinions before I throw myself head first into them. (The above image is a rendering of the changes I plan to make.)

First, let’s review. My kitchen has been through quite a transformation already! When we moved in, our kitchen looked like the one below.

kitchen before and after

Now it looks like the image above. Much brighter and more fitting to our style. But some of the finishes and installations I had chosen simply for their budget friendliness, and I’m ready to upgrade them now. Check out the link list below to view my detailed posts about each step of our budget kitchen reno. And read on to hear about the new updates I’ll be working on this August!

kitchen white circle tiles


This one is nonnegotiable. I’ve been wanting to tile my kitchen walls since I first did a facelift to this space two years ago. But instead I chose a shiplap treatment that was incredibly budget friendly, in turn helping my entire ktichen reno log in at under 2K total.(Read about the shiplap process here, with details on the cost of each material used.)


I’m very drawn to the dramatic tile wall trend that’s happening right now, in particular, tiles with a sixties modern boho vibe. Jonathan Adler designed a beautiful circle-textured tile for his home that would be perfect for what I envision for my kitchen, but I couldn’t find anything like it in my price range. Enter: The DIYer’s Solution! You guys, I’m going to use ceramic coasters to tile my kitchen wall. This is a thing that is actually happening. I’ve ordered the coasters in bulk and am currently waiting for them to arrive. Before I get to work, I’m planning on changing up the shelving situation as well. Let’s talk about that next!

floating shelves options


This is actually the first part of the work I will be doing. I decided to instal floating shelves first, then cutting the tiles to instal around the shelves, making the design fully integrated and visually cohesive (no gaps between shelves and the wall). For my first budget kitchen facelift, I had chosen simple Ikea brackets and used 1x10s and 1x8s with a 1×2 front lip that I glued in place to give the shelves a more substantial feel. The end results was a nice, bright open-shelving look, but perhaps a bit more country than I’d like. Not a big deal, but since I’m redoing the wall, I wanted to take this opportunity to change up the shelves as well.

I purchased some 2×6 and 2×4 poplar boards that I’m edge gluing to make them wider and will be installing them as floating shelves, with no visible brackets. I’ll share all about the easy process later this month! But for now I’m stuck on deciding if I want to paint the shelves white, or stain them. I had to do a mock-up to see how both ways would look with the new tile I plan to do, but I still can’t decide! I love the clean, crisp look of the white. But I love the warmth of the wood too.


I’d love to hear your opinions! I’m very excited to do this little addendum to our kitchen facelift, and am so excited to share the results with you guys! Later this week I’ll share peeks at the progress of our little living room facelift as well. So many little changes that are adding up to a big shift in the look and feel of our home. We’re lovin’ it!