Going Green (and keeping the green in our pockets)

I’ve mentioned  our troubles with our chimney/furnace in the past and how they desperately needed to be addressed. Our furnace was ancient, while our chimney runs right through the center of the house (and didn’t have a proper liner) both needed to be taken care of before we really started buttoning up the house with insulation. Our options were pretty limited, as there was a blockage (aka a “Fratus Fix”) to cover the beam that runs through the middle of it a stack of bricks were placed on the inside, thus restricting the air flow. So we decided to just circumvent the entire process and go with a direct vent combination unit. Let’s call in the big guns, Don and Charlie from The Gas Company (legit name). Before I get into the details, let’s take a moment and remember where we started:

Old furnace and hot water heater

It look a lot of space in our basement…

Replacing furnace and water heater

And did I mention old?


It needed to go. So Don and Charlie came in and rocked this project for us. This was not a cheap project by any means. After doing some research on various models and chatting with a few other plumbers, we chose to go with the on demand Navien for their huge energy savings, and it was the appropriate size for the house. The quotes didn’t come cheap, but with installation, labor, parts, permits, the winning quote came in at $8,500. Don told us about rebates that we were eligible for so we could get some of that money back, which ended up being a total of $4,000. Pretty good!

During our inspection, the inspector found some improper vents that the previous owners had messed with, so we needed to fix it in order to move along with a giant pass sticker. While it truly stinks we had to fix someone else’s poor decision (seems to be a theme in this house) it’s ok, because now it’s fixed and we can move on! I  mentioned to Don that down the line we eventually want to turn the small shower on the first floor into a laundry area, and they were able to prep it so it would be easier for us to switch it over in the future. But enough about the not-so-great-stuff, let’s get to the after pictures shall we?



Everything is so neat, organized and compact!

And what about where the old stuff used to be? Wide open space baby!


With our new system, we are now 92% efficient!! Compared to what it was before, well, you can’t even come close to that kind of efficiency. We’ve been living with it for about a month, and so far we haven’t had any problems with it. The water does take a little longer to warm up, but we’re happy to know that we’ll see those savings come winter, especially as we add more insulation. Don also told us that with this type of heating, we won’t be able to run our future dishwasher and take a shower at the same time. Growing up in a household where you’d sometimes get a cold shower because someone else thought you were out and started the washing machine, well..you get used to it!

I still can’t believe that we went from this:
Old furnace and hot water heater

To this little guy that does what both of those behemoths used to do (and not efficient at all!):


Have you had to make any large investments in your home recently? Any experience with direct vent/on demand heating systems? Share away!

My home away from home: Brimfield Fair!

Adam’s mom Rhonda introduced me to the world of the Brimfield Fair about 2 years ago, and I was hooked. A gathering of tents upon tents of antiques and an opportunity for me to try and haggle some deals, is like Christmas to me. With the wedding coming up (well, it’s not THAT soon seeing that it’s September 2014) I was excited to go and check out what I could incorporate for décor. It also gave me an opportunity to see any new trends in the design world were popping up. One vendor told me, “People think trends start in the magazines, but that’s not true. They start at places like Brimfield” and I couldn’t agree more. So what did I walk away with?

Petrified woods, geodes, crystals were everywhere, along with gorgeous old suitcases (with travel stickers!), mixing woods with irons, gorgeous rugs with bold patterns and so on. They’re all there! We did walk away with a few ideas for the wedding, and a couple of things for the home!

My only purchase for the day was this adorable cast iron dog bank for $20 and I’m in love. He’s just so cute! He looks fab on my desk.


Adam was the big purchaser over the weekend. He picked up a stage light for $25 and is determined to rewire it and find a wooden tri-pod to stick it on to make a new light for us (like this one). If you have an extra tri-pod lying around, please let me know. He also got a pair of beautiful cast iron stems for our dream table. We’ve been on the hunt for some for about a year and this was the first pair that seemed reasonably priced at $400 compared to the $700+ we’ve come across  in the past.


The vendor we bought them from told us they were from around 1910 (same age as the house!) and from a factory in Vermont. We looked up the company that was on them, Jones, Lansom  & Co. and come to find out, they machined a variety of things. From guns to sewing machines, to lathes. We’re only going to use the leg parts for the table, but I’m sure we’ll come up with some use for the top. I have no intention of painting them or trying to refinish them either. I think something like this, looks great in it’s original form. You can tell that they were inside for a long time since the condition of them is great. I can’t WAIT until we have the table put together and in the dining room. That is, when we get to putting sheet rock up, lighting, oh and fixing the floor joists since they’re rotten and making sure the room is level. Just add it to the list.

I didn’t take too many pictures, but I did want to share what I did take. IMG_1530 IMG_1531 IMG_1532 IMG_1533 IMG_1537 IMG_1538 IMG_1539 IMG_1540

Did you go to Brimfield this past weekend? You going to check it out in July or September too? I know I’ll most likely be there!

Living in a Dream

Last Monday was like any other Monday for me. I had just come back from grocery shopping when I got a text from Adam telling me that he was ok, and not to worry he was no where near where the bombs went off. Bombs? At the marathon? What bombs?! I frantically turn on the news and am shocked at what I’m seeing. Is this seriously happening in Boston? This can’t be at THE Boston Marathon. I instantly started getting calls and texts from friends and family members and I reassure them that I was safe at home, and that Adam was about a mile away from the blast at work.

They had shut down the T, so I drove in town to get Adam at work. It was incredibly surreal to go into the financial district and see those who had crossed the finish line walking around with their well earned jackets, knowing what they had narrowly missed. Police/SWAT/FBI agents were scattered throughout the city, and I just wanted to get Adam and get home.

Over the next couple of days I think everyone living in and around the city was just living in a daze of disbelief. How could this had happened in our city? Why would someone do such a thing? Are these people still out there and what are they going to do next? Last week was a long week of waiting, glued to the news in hopes of some sort of development. Then on Thursday, photos of the suspects were released. Not the most clear images, but their faces were out there, someone had to know who they were.

Friday morning, Adam woke up to go to work and flipped on the news, and they were reporting that one of the suspects had been killed and suspect #2 was still out there, on the run. We learned that they had shut down the city of Boston and informed us that we should be on lockdown in our homes. As details kept coming in, seeing how he fled to Watertown and SWAT teams were going from home to home pulling people out of bed to search for this wanted man. We were again in a surreal/dream-like state. Is this seriously happening here? It looked like a war zone out there. We’re not too far from Watertown and it really hit home when they started searching Cambridge and located the suspects home, which is about a mile or so from our house. Adam and I were glued to the news all day, hoping they’d catch him.

Right around 6, they lifted the lockdown and told people to live their life like they normally would. Do activities like it was any normal Friday night. We headed to the pub around the corner from our house with Dave and Kate and it was packed. People were a little stir crazy, that’s for sure. We sat down at our table, ordered, and continued watching the news. Then it broke that they had found suspect #2, in a boat of all places. We took to social media which seemed to be about 5 minutes ahead of the news. Finally, they announced that after another shoot out, they had the suspect in custody! The bar ERUPTED with cheers, hollers and chants of “USA! USA!” could be heard not only in the bar, but through the streets.

Never had I been more proud of the city I’ve called home for 7 years and amazed at how quickly everything happened. Adam and I took a walk on Saturday morning up to Teele Square to pay our respects for the MIT officer who lost his life doing what he loved. It’s the least we could do.

I’ll get back to writing normal posts soon enough, but I ask that at 2:50 PM EST that you take a moment out of your crazy day, and remember what happened a week ago. Think about the victims whose lives were lost, those families that were touched by tragedy, and those who are still in the hospital recovering. Think how all the victims that were injured, were saved by the amazing medical staff at the Boston hospitals  Think about those who spent countless hours working to get the terrorists off the streets, making sure justice is served. Just take a moment, and be thankful.

We are #bostonstrong

We are #bostonstrong

Road Trippin’

After I got the news that I was laid off, I did something that people who just lost their job shouldn’t do…I bought a new iMac. To give a back story, I’ve been coveting one for years and have been pushing it off and making excuses on why I can’t/shouldn’t get one. Why now? We had already planned on getting one later this year since I would need one to create all the paper goods for the wedding, and since I was freshly out of job, I could at least try and get some freelance work to help out. Adam is fortunate enough to work for a really great company that gives reimbursements on new computers (up to $500) so there was the savings there. Combine that with his student discount? I’d be silly not to take advantage of these savings.

So, why am I writing about road tripping? Well this beautiful, wonderful machine needed a home. While we plan on having an office down the road, that room is currently holding all of our wood floors that we can’t install yet. In the mean time, I set up shop at the small café table we have in the kitchen. While it was working fine, I really needed a space of my own and needing a desk. What else do I have going on a Thursday afternoon besides updating my resume and looking at jobs all day? Go to IKEA!

So, last Thursday, my fellow unemployed friend Kate (check out her cooking blog over here) hopped into the Honda CR-V and made our way to Stoughton. I haven’t been to IKEA for a few years and was actually really excited! What’s great about not going on a weekend…zero crowds. Kate and I could take our time and not deal with all kinds of people. It also allowed me to take pictures without having people photobomb!

Enjoy the many pics I took with some light commentary. Hopefully some will inspire you!


I just loved the polka dotted bed spread. And that is the same light fixture that Young House Love has in the master bedroom. It’s awesome in person.


I loved the lines of this chair and while it looks great in black, it would be so nice in a bright, punchy color and a fun fabric cushion.


While it’s a simple light, I think it would look great over an island. And for $30 you could easily get two for $60. A steal if you ask me.


This was desk option #1. It was great because it folded down and the price was right at $30.  The downside was that I wasn’t comfortable having my beauty of a computer sitting on something that could eventually fold down on its own.


While the streamline cabinets and bar aren’t necessarily my thing, it would look great in an awesome mod-home with clean lines. Plus the sixties are making a comeback à la Mad Men.


I flocked to this rug. I LOVE the bold pattern and it came in a variety of colors. Would be awesome in any room.


I loved how this had a 60s vibe, but I think it looks so much fun, and those chairs were super comfy.


I just thought this pattern was fun! Would love to pair it with a coral-ly orange.


IKEA is known for this type of bookcase, called “the billy”. It’s been featured on a bunch of IKEA hack blogs out there, but I thought that this was a great idea to punch up any bookcase. It’s a way to update a back of a traditional bookcase on a budget. You could use colorful wallpaper, paint, stencils, and even regular paper. You could also do the same technique behind floating shelves. The possibilities are endless!


This kitchen was AWESOME. It had so much cabinet space that I don’t even think I could fill it all (which is probably a lie, I totally could). While it’s too large for our current kitchen layout, I took away a lot of inspiration for what I do want down the line. I love how it incorporates cabinets with and without glass, open shelving, and the oversized lights over the island.


This would be so cute filled with different herbs and spices for the summer time!


This is the chair I ended up purchasing for my desk. I thought the price was right at $30 and it’s much cuter than a traditional desk chair.


They had great curtains and fabric to choose from! Light patterns to bold colorful ones, it would be fun to mix and match.

IMG_1428IMG_1429 IMG_1430 IMG_1431


Moving onto rugs, I thought this was a fun pattern. It also came in blue! One of my friends (and fellow bloggers) actually purchased this rug for her new office in her and her husband’s new house! We tend to have the same aesthetic, so I wasn’t surprised to find something like this in her house🙂


This is something I’d really like to buy down the line. It’s a simple (and cheap!) runner that would look AWESOME as a runner down our stairs. It’s something I want to tackle at some point, but will most likely wait a bit until demo upstairs is more under control.

So, after all that? I did come home with a great desk that fits the space just right. For $35, I bought one of their tops and 4 legs, and put it together. It’s working out beautifully and I couldn’t be happier. What do you think?


What’s great about IKEA is that they have items that are relatively inexpensive, but look fab, but the quality isn’t always there. Do you think it’s a waste to purchase temporary/trendy items or save your pennies for top notch quality and hope that you like it for more than a couple of years?

A Friday Treat

Well happy Friday folks! Can’t say enough how happy I am that it’s the end of the week. I’m looking to blog more now that I have the time (happens when you get laid off) and since I’ve been home, it’s allowed me to hang out more with this guy:

Which brings me to today’s post. See, our little guy has a food allergy, we believe to chicken, so we’ve become accustomed to getting him treats with no meat in them, which is kind of difficult (and expensive). One treat we’ve discovered he LOVES are dehydrated sweet potatoes. Brom goes absolutely nuts for them. When I saw blog post from Tim and Mary over at 17Apart where they made their own sweet potato treats for their dog Basil, I knew I could do the same for our pup! So earlier this week, I decided I’d try it out, hell, I’ve got the time!

I picked up a bag of sweet potatoes for about $3 and while the oven was preheating at 175˚, I took a few and sliced them on the thicker side.

And then I just laid them out on a greased baking sheet that I covered with foil so it would be a nice and easy clean up.


And then, you just let them slow roast in the oven for about 8 hours. I rotated them about halfway through, but that’s literally it. Set and forget it. I let Brom be the judge on how they turned out:


I think he liked them:


I’d make these again in a heartbeat since they were so easy. Have you ever attempted to make your own treats for your pet?

Road Trippin’ and a Far Away Surprise Visitor

A couple of weeks ago, the fiancé and I made a trip up to my hometown in Maine not only to visit with family, but also have a very big wedding event happen…me trying on wedding dresses! I wasn’t ready to try on dresses just yet, so what was the push? I got a visit from a very special Aussie transplant: my sister.


Taking in a celtic’s game!

She surprised me in NYC in February for my birthday and was been home for a few weeks and then headed out to hang out with some of her friends in San Fran before heading back to Australia. The next time that I will see her will most likely be for my bachelorette party before the wedding! Insanity. So, her one request (besides getting me to narrow down my colors which are currently 6) was to at least see me try on wedding dresses. And she got her way.

That Saturday my mom, Katie and I left the house early to my very first appointment over at Andrea’s in Portland. The process was interesting, but I did walk away with a style I’m digging, but definitely didn’t find ‘the one’. Adam made his way into the city where we met him at Portland’s famous Duckfat restaurant and put our name in for lunch. We’ve attempted a couple of times to eat here, but it’s always so popular and the waiting list is usually very long, but we were in luck! We only had to wait about 30 minutes, so where can we go and hang out? Why, let’s go get some oysters! Well, at Katie and Adam ate oysters.

Eventide outside

Photo Credit: The William Brown Project

We went across the street to Eventide and I was blown away by how beautiful this little restaurant was! When you first walk in, you’re greeted with a giant granite bowl full of oysters from all over the coast, with the menu beautifully done on a chalkboard and even the menu you’re given is done so well. Check out some pictures below!

Photo credit: Bangor Daily News

Photo credit: Bangor Daily News


Photo Credit: James Beard Foundation

Photo Credit: James Beard Foundation

So, even though my Mom and I didn’t have oysters, I still appreciated the aesthetic of the place and appreciate all the details that was put into it. It was an absolute gorgeous restaurant. We did enjoy a fantastic meal at Duckfat and that I can completely recommend.

Have you ever taken a close look at the décor in a restaurant? Do you find inspiration there? My favorite part of this place, was how light and airy it felt. What about you?

Friday Finds

I’m trying to get my mind off the fact that it’s STILL snowing in Boston and it just won’t quit, so when I saw an email from Rugs USA in my inbox for up to 80% off their closeout rugs (AND FREE shipping!), I just had to take a peek. What did I find? Incredible deals that’s what. There are 5 x 8 rugs on there for $60. $60!

This is what I’m crushing on:

Serendipity RugI love the neutral color of this, but the pattern is fun and could go in any room. For $176, it’s a bargain.

200XMP1828I’ve been obsessed with this pattern for-ev-er. It’s a really classic pattern and would work wonderfully in a dining room. I could easily picture an awesome rustic table with metal legs hangin’ out on this.  The brightness of the color could be your “pop” that you’ve been looking for. Also $176 for a 5 x 8.

200XMP1657Ahh the chevron. I still really love this pattern, but has it worn out it’s welcome? Eh, I think it will be here for a little while longer, so at $128 you could easily bring this home and update your space.

These are just a sampling of the ones that I love, but there are a ton more of gorgeous rugs on there (jutes, wools, classic and modern patterns) so if you’re on the hunt for a great rug and at these prices, you’d be silly not to get one (or at least daydream). Check out RugsUSA and let me know which ones you’re loving!

I was not paid or given any perks to give my opinion on these rugs, I just wanted to share an amazing deal with others out there!