The Living Room Reveal!

Boral Old Country Fieldstone Fireplace

A few months ago, I was sharing the video tour of this house, unsure of whether or not it would one day be ours. But here we are! Halfway finished with a complete redo of the first floor. A lot of you were surprised I had chosen an ’80s house, and to be honest, so was I. The home we visited with the sunken conversation pit? I was sure about that one. It was meant for me. Or maybe not, because someone else put in an offer before we had a chance. Que sera, sera, I guess! The location and floorplan of this home is probably better for our family, so I’m telling myself that it’s a good thing we missed out on the other groovy pad.

Check out our fireplace makeover and the full living room reveal at A Beautiful Mess.

MandiMakes living room makeover before

There are four reasons we confidently chose this house. The location is just down the road from the major shopping area, and I’m constantly running to the store for supplies in the midst of projects I for for my work. Plus it’s just convenient! The school district is the best in our area, and I honestly never thought I’d be able to afford a house of this size in this school district, but I guess we we just at the right place at the right time. Also, we felt pretty safe about a home built in the late ’80s being up to code without surprises with plumbing or electrical. The floor plan was a little odd, and had been slightly changed by the previous owners to close off the front sitting room and dining room, but it was perfect for our needs to have both a study and an office, as well as a closed-off yet centrally located playroom. And lastly, there were enough features that I loved about the base of this home that I knew it could be awesome with some cosmetic changes— for instance, the living room opening up to the kitchen/dining room was nice, but also I loved the bright light from all of the windows and skylights.

media center makeover

I shared my ideas a bit in the original video tour of the house, but things changed. Here is my first and second post about the living room planning and progress where I discuss my thoughts behind various options. I’m happy I went with a lighter floor in here because it added to the bright and limitless feeling I wanted for this space.

A fresh coat of Benjamin Moore’s Super White made a huge impact in the space, but obviously the transformation of the fireplace wall was super dramatic! I think it’s the best decision we’ve made for this home makeover. I actually didn’t do any demo on the fireplace wall (besides removing the mantle and carpet), instead I chose to cover up the brick with an affordable manufactured stone veneer product called Cultured Stone by Boral. I wanted a warm neutral stone with some variety in its mix, adding textural interest and even pattern to such a starkly bright white room.

Check out all of the details about the fireplace makeover at A Beautiful Mess.

after demolition

built-in nook shelving

Over at A Beautiful Mess today, you can read the entire post with even more photos of our living room reveal. I shared a lot of the thought process behind the choices for the space and talked a bit about how I define our home’s style.

You can also check out the reveal of our adjacent sunroom I shared this past fall. And next up with be the final reveal of our kitchen!

joybird taylor golden sectional

Mandi's Living Room Before and After

I was so glad we finished this space in time to decorate for Christmas and spin some of my favorite holiday records. It really made the long wait worth it! It’s also fun to see the kids enjoy the records so much, and I have to admit, I hope it contributes to a lifelong love of music for them.

media center fireplace wall

At this point in the renovation game, I’ve learned quite a few things, but the biggest piece of advice I can give is to just take things one room at a time! It can be so hard to live in a home where so many rooms are in upheaval. Not only that, but making so many decisions at once can be overwhelming and lead to bad decisions.

If you’re doing the work yourself, like we did, I’d also recommend finishing one room before beginning on another, or certain rooms can just drag on forever! For me, that has been our kitchen. I was almost finished with it at the beginning of Fall, but I literally just have two final details I haven’t been able to finish up because of the pressure to finish other rooms as well. It just became too overwhelming and I felt myself begin to shut down.

My dad retired from his career a couple of weeks ago, and I know he enjoys working on home projects, so I’m hoping having him more available will give me the motivation I need to get a second wind!

Mandi's Living Room Before and After


halloween toastWall paint: Benjamin Moore’s Super White
Fireplace stone: Boral Cultured Stone Old Country Fieldstone in Summit Peak
Flooring: Lumber Liquidators engineered bamboo
White Ardex: eBay
Large area rug: Lulu & Georgia
Sofa: Welles sectional from Joybird
Glass side table: All Modern
Coffee Table: Chairish
White chairs: 1st Dibs
White side table between chairs: LexMod
Credenza: vintage Broyhill Brasilia from Main St. Modern in Canton, Ohio
Black swing-arm wall sconce: Hayneedle
Curtain rods: IKEA
Curtains: HomeGoods
Hearth cushions: Deal Genius
Sunroom wicker chair: vintage from Main St. Modern in Canton, Ohio
Sunroom table: Lexmod
Sunroom rug: Amazon
Sunroom wall planters: West Elm
Watercolor Louise Brooks portrait on credenza: original from German artist Galerie Minimal on Etsy
Large neutral art created by my girls
Decorative trays: Home Goods
Vases, floor lamps, bar cart, photobooth panel, yellow op art, and little girl portrait are vintage.

Post Christmas Family Traditions

Cultured Coffee and Waffles- Canton, Ohio
This post is sponsored by Evenflo

This past Christmas was a little less than the magical experience I had been hoping for. Okay, it was a lot less than magical, and a huge reality check for me! Leading up to Christmas, I had been hand-making gifts, decorating the house, baking cookies, and spinning holiday records, all with the hopes for the ultimate joyful experience when my kiddos would unwrap presents and enjoy our family Christmas traditions, with sparkling eyes. But instead we got crusty-eyes, snotty noses, and kiddos who literally slept through the entire day of Christmas festivities with Phil’s family. I felt devastated. This was not what I had planned! Of course, my heart hurt for my kiddos who were miserable and also missing out on the joy of the holiday. But my heart also broke for myself, that I was missing out on the magic that Christmas is for parents of little kids. What a disappointment!

But as I snuggled my sick children, I realized that even if we weren’t making the memories I had been envisioning, we were still making memories, and I needed to adjust my attitude, just like I’m always telling me kids to do. So I made the most of our couch-time, introducing some family-friendly series movies and series to the girls, like Little Women and Little Men, starting every day off slowly and snuggling a lot in my bed, and just chilling out together each day for an entire week. Maybe it’s what we all needed, even though Phil and I thankfully didn’t get sick too. Rest, reconnecting, and bonding. I suppose it’s exactly what I had deeply wanted for our holiday week, even though I had envisioned it differently.

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

I had also planned to continue our annual tradition of heading out after Christmas to a favorite local Canton spot, Cultured Coffee and Waffles. But since the kiddos were sick, we postponed the outing for a few days. (And I satisfied my cravings by making waffles at home!) The week of snuggling brought lots of snowfall, and I was tempted once again to just cancel our plans and stay inside (forever). But we decided to bundle up and go out in the snow with our Evenflo Sibby stroller, and I’m so glad we did! Sometimes traditions can be a burden, but sometimes they just require a little effort (and lots of winter layers) to keep family traditions alive.

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

Lucy was still not feeling 100%, and I couldn’t get her to take any pictures, but I’m also learning that sometimes I can ruin my plans for family fun by making the kiddos be in photos! Choose your battles, they say!

Speaking of battles, it can be so hard to motivate myself to get out and about with the kids in the wintertime! There’s usually snow here in Ohio, and lots of germs out and about. But we’ve learned that for everyone’s sanity, we have to get out. When we do, we have so much fun and feel very refreshed!

I’m also learning to head into each season with less pressure and expectations for myself and for my children. Of course I’ll always want things to be special and magical for my children, but life’s always throwing curveballs, and learning to adjust and make the most of what we’re given is what makes each moment special!

Cultured Coffee and Waffles- Canton, Ohio

Cultured Coffee and Waffles- Canton, Ohio

When I posted photos from our snowy stroller outing a couple of weeks ago, I got a lot of questions about how well our Sibby stroller did in the snow. It was my first time taking it out with lots of snow on the ground (much more than there was this most recent time), and I was a little worried about how well we’d be able to navigate sidewalks that hadn’t been cleared yet. And I’m happy to say we fared well, and the stroller made it through! The Sibby does have a platform that clips onto the back of the stroller for a second child to stand on and ride along, but Lucy wanted to walk through the snow in her new snow boots (pictured here), so we opted not to use the platform, and I’m not so sure it would’ve done as well in the deeper snow anyway.

Thank you to Evenflo for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

Vintage-Inspired Prime Eligible Gifts

You guys! There’s still time to order gifts in time for Christmas! I wanted to round up some of my favorite items available to buy through Amazon Prime, shipping in time for the big day. These are all vintage-inspired items (shocking, I know!) that will work for the male and female in your life. It’s a little mix of unique finds for the techy designer, oil-obsessed, amateur photographer, and for the radio and music lover in your life. Oh, and toast-lover too! I somehow fit into all of these categories. Maybe you’ll find something perfect for finishing off your shopping list?

  1. wooden jug-shaped oil diffuser
  2. onion-shaped oil diffuser
  3. Smeg toaster
  4. Big Flip clock 
  5. desktop flip clock
  6. wooden keyboard set
  7. retro-style clock
  8. small camera bag
  9. vegan leather and fabric camera strap
  10. mid-size camera bag
  11. wireless headphones
  12. portable radio
  13. white cube bookshelf speakers
  14. wood turntable with built-in speakers