Apply For Your 2021 Homestead Exemption

It’s a new year, new you and time to apply for your Homestead Exemption for your primary residence. Did you buy a home in 2020? Then you don’t want to forget to apply for your Homestead Exemption. It’s actually a super simple process, but I’m here to help you through it! Let’s break down this whole Homestead Exemption thing…

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Homestead Exemption /ˈhōmˌsted ex·emp·tion/ noun

According to the Texas Comptroller, a homestead can separate structure, condominium or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it. A homestead can include up to 20 acres, if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead. You can apply for a homestead exemption on your main residence to lower your taxes.


Who qualifies for a Homestead Exemption?

Requirements to receive the exemption:

  1. Must own the property on January 1 of the year you are applying. January 1 is not required if you’re over 65 and/or disabled. 
  2. Must reside at your home as primary residence.
  3. Must be individual homeowner, not entities or corporation.
  4. Can be house, manufactured home or mobile home. Can include up to 20 acres if land is used as yard and owned by homeowner.
  5. Must apply between January 1 and April 30 for year you intend to use exemption.

How to apply?

  1. Find and complete APPLICATION FOR RESIDENTIAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION.
  2. Include copy of Driver’s License or Identification Card. The address on the card must match your homestead address, so if you haven’t already – run down to the get that changed!

Remember, this can ONLY be used on your primary residence. Not investment properties, not land. The best resource to use when applying for your Homestead Exemption is your local county appraisal district’s office/website or the Texas Comptroller.

File today and get that tax break! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Hosting A My Favorite Things Party at The Dollhouse

These are a few of my favorite things….

I’ve been reading all about My Favorite Things parties for a while and decided it was finally time that I threw one myself! With The Dollhouse all festive and parties needing to remain small and quaint, I decided what better of a time than now?!

So what is a My Favorite Things Party you might ask? There are many ways to throw one, but I’ll break the way I threw mine down for you and ways you can customize it for your crew. Basically, a Favorite Things Party is where everyone brings their favorite thing, explains why it is their favorite and someone else takes it home. It’s a fun twist on your typical White Elephant party. But what I love about this twist is that people really put some thought into their items and you don’t have to fight with strangers over gifts.

Here are the Rules:

  • Think of something that you LOVE that’s $10 or less and bring 3 of those items (all 3 items are the same)
  • Bring all 3 items to the party in one bag (unwrapped)
  • At the party, you’ll have a chance to share your favorite items and draw names for 3 people that will go home with that item
  • Everyone will walk away with 3 favorite items from friends
Feel free to use this image I created to share with your friends for your Favorite Things Party!

Rules Breakdown for the Host:

  • When people arrive, have them place their favorite things underneath the Christmas tree (this was a fun way for people to check out all of the items unwrapped)
  • Have people write their names down on 3 pieces of paper and put it in a bowl
  • When the exchange begins, have everyone draw a number and when their number is called they present what their favorite things is, why they love it and draw 3 names from the bowl
  • Have small gift bags for everyone to take home their new favorite thing items home – I ran to Dollar Tree and got small bags with name tags so that people could put their name on it after the exchange to know what their bag was when they left! I even threw a little goody in their of a festive light up necklace for future Christmas parties!

Decide on a Theme:

This goes for both the party and the favorite thing items. So first let’s start with the party! I did a pajama party theme because who wants to dress up just to go to someones home when you could show up in your comfiest PJs?! To go along with the theme, I served yummy breakfast items and did a hot chocolate charcuterie board along with some ways to spike it… if you wanted!

I made my famous hot chocolate cookies, pigs in a blanket and parfait cups and the rest was a simple freezer pick up from Sam’s Club (quiches, cinnamon rolls, hot cocoa mix and a majority of the treats on the hot chocolate charcuterie board).

There are a lot of ways to customize the party from the gift theme to outfits. Some people make their favorite things follow a specific theme like beauty, kitchen, decor, outdoor, entertaining pieces. While I think following a theme sounds so fun, I decided to make it simple this year and just people bring whatever their favorite thing is whether it be beauty, kitchen or decor related.

Favorite Thing Gift Ideas:

My friends really showed out with their favorite things and here are some of the items we all loved:


I highly recommend putting a spin like this on your next White Elephant party! We all embraced a little bit of change with this fun gathering and look forward to making it an annual affair at The Dollhouse!

Such a fun night with this group of girls!

The Dollhouse: Sunroom Before & After

Keeping it sunny, keeping it cute! Whether it’s chilly or toasty outside, a sunroom has already been a MUST on my home wish list. There’s just something about being able to sip on coffee in a screened-in porch that gives me all the homey vibes I could dream of. It’s the little things that make the smallest home feel the coziest.

You’ve seen all the beauty and glory of the interior of The Dollhouse, so now it’s time to show you one of my favorite rooms that truly took the most creativity… my sunroom! It is located at the back left corner of my house and is what I like to call the perfect wine drinking room! There were some debates on adding a half bathroom to my home, but it would have needed to be where the sunroom is and that was just a non-negotiable for me to take such a fun room away.

The good news from when I purchased The Dollhouse is that the bones for the sunroom were already there. The room just needed a little bit more fun and a whole lotta love to make it more me! I always had this vision of black and white hand painted flooring with cedar colored furniture and while the vision shifted here and there, it truly came out to exactly what I was envisioning.

THE SUNROOM

Matching the brick with the exterior white color and have the painters also paint the concrete floor white really were the biggest game changers before decor and stencil painting came into play. My mother and I hand painted the floor with a stencil and while it was totally worth it, it was quite the ordeal to have done. This was the perfect sized space to hand stencil, but anything larger than this room would have been quite the job to take on.

I plan to do a blog post going into full detail on how we stenciled the floors because there are a lot of different details that helped throughout the process. In a summed up version, though – it took me about two days to stencil the floors and a hand dobbed with a round paint brush. I learned very quickly that sponges seep through underneath the stencil and had to redo a couple of portions. My biggest blessing was having a high speed fan to help the paint dry faster but the hardest part was the edges. My worst edges thankfully have furniture over them, so I didn’t feel like I had to be as much of a perfectionist.

This is one project that my Dad did not touch at all as I (the painter contractors daughter) wanted to prove I could handle it. He was actually very impressed, but no worries I did consult on types of paint and he made me veer away from sealing it as it’s white and outdoor so the weather changes may turn it to yellow once sealed.

What I really wanted this room to have were those black and white accents with pops of green full of plants and pillows that made me look like a crazy plant lady although they’re almost all succulents that don’t need much love at all. Work smarter and plant easier, y’all!

This last section is by far my FAVORITE! Where the now plant wall is was once a door to my bedroom that we had closed in. The door made the inside of my master bedroom very choppy and awkward and closing it in truly changed the layout of that space. Once we closed and insulated in this doorway, I was tasked with what to do to make this not quite look like an old door. There were many options: brick it in, paint it, add shelves and so on. I felt that you would still be able to see the bricked in section and it wouldn’t look natural if we went that route. Shelves wouldn’t be deep enough to hold enough plants or watering jugs but then I thought what about a plant wall?!

I am so, so pleased with how this plant wall turned out. Both the hooks and the planters are from Crate and Barrel. I really let my Dad (y’all he’s the best for all the projects I had him do!!) take the lead on this project with measurements and distancing of the planters. He was very exact and wanted to be able to measure with the planters and plants inside them to see the proper distance of what was needed. It was a task that took a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, but didn’t they turn out great? It’s just the perfect pop on the wall that was once a doorway and feels far more natural of a focal piece than antyhing else did. This sunroom is my perfect like outdoor oasis and I’ve enjoyed making it my little wine drinking room for my friends, family and me!

Thank you always for following along on my little Dollhouse journey!

The Dollhouse: Bathroom, Guest Bedroom and Hallway Before & After

We are nearing the end of my Dollhouse before and after reveals! Lots of changes are continually happening in my home like drapery and pillows that took a little longer for me to decide on (no worries… I’ll share it down the road). You’ve seen the rooms like my master bedroom and the kitchen that took some of the most creativity in the home, but my guest bedroom and hallway area needed some cosmetic love. On the other hand, the bathroom was a total overhaul!

Just a reminder, I’m working with one bathroom in my home. We really tried to find a way to add at least a half bath elsewhere, but it would have taken away from other useful spaces and it’s just me to deal with in The Dollhouse for now anyway! For entertaining purposes it can be challenging to have just one bathroom, but it hasn’t become large enough of an issue for me to regret the decision. Older homes have their charms, so I guess one bathroom has to be part of that… right?

THE BATHROOM

For as much as I loved the archway to the bathtub/shower, it was truly disgusting and dark. It is too small of a space to have something like an archway make the shower area feel smaller. I love a good subway tile, but fell in love with these thin uneven styled tiles that lead the eye straight up to the ceiling making the shower space feel much larger than it actually is. I wanted this to be a bright and light space with pops of brass and funky colors.

A couple designs I’m happy I focused on were making the storage space larger (my shoe closet is behind the cabinetry), adding in a glass door for openness and finding function in my medicine cabinet and above the toilet storage. It was tough finding the perfect glass and hardware for the glass doors. I unfortunately couldn’t do the minimal hardware look with the swinging doors as there’s not enough room to have the door open both ways so it had to be a sliding door. My glass guys had never installed one with a white border and gold handle, but it turned out perfect – any other color would have taken away from the clean and minimalist look I was going for.

As you can see all the beatiful pepto pink tile is off the walls and it’s all a fresh gray look with pops of gold. I found this functional shelving/towel rack that allows me to store items for guests (or me!) and hang hand towels as well. Also, if you don’t know this saying “Please don’t do coke in the bathroom” then you’re obviously not a real housewives fan! My older sister Ilissa got me this and it’s the funniest and cutest addition on the wall.

While you can’t see the inside of the mirror, it is a functional medicine cabinet that I made into a space with a plug for my electric tooth brush and custom glass cuts for shelving to add perfumes, deodorant, etc. One of the best parts, though, of the bathroom is that I did get to keep the original pedestal sink. I think it adds a fun and frilly charm that I just couldn’t do away with!

THE HALLWAY

Nothing crazy here in the hallway other than taking away storage. What I took from the hallway was added in my master closet which is behind this wall. By adding storage in my bathroom, I could make sense of take away what was in the hallway.

GUEST BEDROOM

My guest bedroom (or as both of my sisters like to call their room) isn’t quite complete, but it’s getting there! You see this room directly to the right when you enter through my living room so I wanted there to be a bold look. I love, love the simple gold frame of my guest bed with the pop coming from the zebra hide. I originally wanted a metallic cowhide, but when I saw the zebra rug I was SOLD! I hung up an East Texas Yamboree posted from when my little sister was Yamboree Queen last year and I have a family chair that lots of my mother’s side of the family has been rocked in throughout the years below. It’s fun to have family pieces and memories in the home. When my cousin and uncle came to check out The Dollhouse, they knew exactly whose chair it was and made me promise to never get rid of it!

There’s still so much to be done in my guest room, though! I have pink curtains and abstract pillows that are ordered and in the making that will totally complete the room. I’m excited to see it all come together and make it even more of a Dollhouse than it already is!

The Dollhouse: Office Space Before & After

Working from home is the new reality for most of us in 2020. In most homes, it’s basically looked at as a luxury to have a designated and separate work space and is honestly desired by most buyers. The back room in The Dollhouse was a TV room when I bought it, but I wanted to turn it into a potential bedroom that also served as an office space and workout room.

The original room was something, y’all! There was fabric wallpaper. Yes, like a wall of curtains collecting all the dust and dirt it wanted to over time. Talk about an asthma attack waiting to happen! I appreciate the vibe that these fabric walls once gave, but they had their moment and it was time to graduate to a fresher look. It was surprisingly super easy tearing down the fabric and taking out the Styrofoam ceilings. The demo was probably the smoothest for this space and I was thankful for that!

The biggest challenge this room provided was the TV cabinet. I wanted to turn this cabinet into a closet to make it a room. Did you know that in order to be considered a bedroom there must be a closet? It wasn’t difficult to tear it into a closet, but it was challenging determining the size it would be. The back of the closet lined up to the kitchen where the refrigerator was placed. I battled with doing a skinnier fridge for more closet space but am so happy I went with the larger fridge size and sized down that bonus closet. It’s now used as a dress closet (like a true dream for me to have an individual closet for my daily dresses) and it can in the future be used as a bonus room or nursery for growing families down the road. I’ve learned from real estate to never take away a functional bedroom, just utilize it for your needs – but keep the closet!

OFFICE SPACE

Cosmetic updates were really all this office space needed! A little TLC getting rid of that wild fabric, refinishing hardwoods and adding in a nice little gray wall with a pop of gold from my light fixture and BAM! I needed this room to flow as a work space and work out room. It also doesn’t hurt to bring in a little bit of my agriculture roots and add in some Hereford hide. I seriously looked everywhere to find the right type of rug that could work for a corner desk and then thought about how a Hereford hide rug might just work and boy did it!

I honestly had to move my desk around a couple of times before I found the right flow and layout I wanted for my office. The first desk I bought was a beautiful wooden mid-century desk, but it truly wasn’t big enough to fit my computer, monitor and my printer. I love, love this Ikea desk that is wide enough yet deep enough as well for me to lay out my thank you notes or write to do lists. You would be surprised how difficult it is to find a simple white desk without weird accents on it.

My diploma frames are hands down my favorite! I had the original and traditional diploma frames with the college crests, but it just wasn’t fitting the vibe of the room. I took a chance on ordering these custom floating acrylic frames and they’re simple enough yet also show off my undergraduate and masters degrees. They needed a place to shine – and this was the space!

With this small wall space, I originally thought that I wanted a big gallery wall (which could have been cool). I know myself well enough to know that the second I put up a gallery wall that I wouldn’t love the placement or the art and would want to completely redo it. I thought on it for a while and found a better solution, which was to do shelves and treat the decor like a gallery wall. These acrylic shelves give more attention to the decor and awards and don’t overwhelm the space. I can change it up seasonally and move around books or awards as I feel the need!


It’s all about that work from home flow and I’ve set my office space up to do just that! It’s simple yet has all the finishes and touches that just work for me. This room flows right off my sunroom, enters to my master bedroom and goes to my pantry/kitchen area. Because there are so many different access points, it really is hte perfect space for my office. Hope you enjoyed this peak into The Dollhouse!

AMAZON PRIME DAY: Here’s What You Need

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – it’s Amazon Prime Day! There are lots of deals and lots of steals – so I’m giving you the best of the best. Not only do I love the convenience that Amazon brings into my life, I love the abundance of products and subscription services that I can utilize. Alright… enough talking, let’s get to shopping!

AMAZON PRIME DAY

Smart Home

Home

Kitchen

  • Zwilling Cookware Set: WOW WOW WOW!! What a DEAL! This set is normally priced at $650 and is down to $279.95. If you need a new set, jump on this one!
  • Instant Pot: This 3 QT version has the biggest savings I’ve ever seen! It’s at $49.99 and that’s 58% in savings.
  • Breville Coffee and Espresso Machine: It’s a two for one! These are a hit and have 28% in savings.
  • Le Creuset Griddle: I love, love all of my Le Creuset products and this griddle is a must at only $89.99.
  • 5-Cup Coffee Maker: This Amazon Basics coffee maker is an essential for any kitchen at just $12.
  • 6 Piece Bakeware Set: Ayesha Curry Nonstick set for bakeware at just $34.99 saving you 30%. The copper set is a beauty!

Home Office

  • Power Strip: Fast charging surge protector with USB ports for $24.
  • Samsung LED Monitor: I LIVE for my monitor in my office. This one is very, very reasonably riced at $149.
  • HP Monitor: This is the monitor I have in my home office and I love the sleek look.
  • Laptop Stand: This stand lifts my laptop to the same eye level as my monitor and I love having the capability of two screens or just closing up the computer and leaving the laptop on the stand.

Decor

Subscriptions


Happy shopping! I will be adding to this list throughout the two Prime Days!

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

The Dollhouse: Master Bedroom Before & After

It’s all about the pillow talk! The before and after of The Dollhouse’s master bedroom will have some of the biggest changes in the home. We had to make a lot changes to ensure I have plenty of space, safety and room to breathe. I am very lucky to find a master bedroom in a 1930s home that is as large as this one is. Lots of change, lots of function and lots of color!

The biggest change I made for the master bedroom was taking out the exterior door that led to the sunroom. You’ll notice that most older homes have a door that opens up to outside because the homes didn’t have electricity and needed airflow. While I totally understand the need for the doors, I have central air (bless it) and just really wasn’t loving having an exterior door in my bedroom from a safety aspect. It was also just in a wonky spot that really messed with where I could put my bed. Once this door was covered – the room truly came together!

THE MASTER BEDROOM

Can’t you see how big of a difference it made to close in that door?! I was able to make ample space for my bed along with two larger bedside tables and just make the flow so much better than it originally was. The door just really took over the wall and needed to go. I have another door to my sunroom that’s in my office, so there was no need for two.

One of my biggest wishes for my master bedroom was to have a tall, velvet headboard (mainly because I didn’t want to find decor for above it), but so I could have a crazy and fun pop of color. I waited months for this headboard… but it was totally worth the wait! Having a bed that was a statement on its own made it easier for finding simple bedding and pillows.

Two other important spaces for me were a vanity area and sitting space. I am a hair and make-up gal and love my glam, so I really wanted a designated space for this – that way I can keep it tidy. I also wanted a space for friends or family to sit if we’re hanging out in my room and luckily enough my striped chair I had from when I lived in Houston worked perfectly! It helps that this is such a large room that I was even allowed to have a vanity area and sitting space. People don’t want to lounge around on your bed and like a more structured space to hangout and chit chat.

If I would have kept the wall, my bed and bedside tables would have needed to go on the wall where my dresser and TV are located now. I mean… talk about a tight space. I’m so happy with the new arrangement I have in this room. There is the perfect amount of space for my dresser and TV and I can see my TV if I want from my office – which is ideal! I’m also so, so in love with all the natural light that continues throughout my home into my master. It helps brighten everything!

The now shoe closet was originally a smaller coat closet that backed up to my bathroom storage. My Dad (being the amazing girl Dad that he is) had the most amazing idea to cut the close in half and make this a dedicated shoe and purse closet and have more space in my bathroom (it had such a small amount of storage). Just like I did with bringing spices for my spice cabinet to measure, I brought my booties, heels and boot boxes for my carpenter to measure the space. We left plenty of room at the top of the closet to store my boot boxes and keep them hidden and easy to pull out when needed. No worries… my 5’2 self has a step stool.

The master closet was the most creative and frustrating process of the whole home, in my opinion! My initial problem with purchasing this home was that the closet wasn’t large enough (I mean if you know me… you know). The original closet was snug, but there was hallway storage that I was able to take from on the right and a built-in book cabinet on the left side that I closed in to make space for the washer and dryer. If you’re not following the flow of my home, the master closet backs up to the kitchen, which is where the washer and dryer originally was so it was only natural to just put a stackable unit in my closet. Luckily, they make larger stackable units that can fit a normal load versus the older versions.

While the closet isn’t huge, it gets the job done! I knew when mapping out hanging space that I wanted room for short sleeve blouses at the top, long sleeve blouses below and a longer hanging space for jumpsuits and maxi dresses. There is nothing more frustrating for me in a closet that not being able to see my long dresses – when I hang them folded, I forget what I’ve got. I also lined up my pants storage with lots of space for my different types of pants from shorts to skirts to jeans. This is a space that works for me and that’s the way I designed it.

A COUPLE MORE PRETTIES…

Each one of the rooms in The Dollhouse has a fun pop of color and shows a big piece of my personality. I really enjoyed making my master bedroom vibrant and colorful because I wanted to really have happy room for me to enjoy! I made a functional space with my closets (yes – I’m using closets in my other rooms and I have a built-in storage space upstairs – don’t judge me) and have specified spots for certain clothing and they have their place. Your bedroom should be your happy place and mine is!

Home Warranties: What Are They and Do You Need One?

I’ve been getting this question more and more from my buyers and my past clients when it comes time to renew the home warranty they got when they first purchased their home or for my first time home buyers on if having a home warranty is even worth it. So first things first, let’s break it down…

home war·ran·ty

/hōm/ /ˈwôrən(t)ē/

an annual service contract that can cover a cost to replace or repair home appliances or systems that may break down

Now that we know what a home warranty is, let’s talk about what it can do. Home warranties can cover as much or as little as you choose to pay in coverage. It’s like a little insurance policy on your appliances and systems. Sounds peachy, right? It can be! There are some huge perks of having a home warranty, but for some people there can be downfalls or frustrations.

Price Breakdown

Home warranties range in price depending on the company and package you order. They typically range from $500-$800 and your service charge can range from $50-$75. There are add-ons like pools, septic systems and more than can hike up the cost a little, but can be totally worth it. For first time home buyers, the seller typically pays for the home warranty to cover the first year at closing – but this is all dependent on negotiations. When I say it’s dependent on negotiations, I mean sometimes a seller doesn’t want to pay for a home warranty (that’s their right) or it may make that buyers offer look sweeter in a multiple offer situation to remove it and buy their own before or after closing.

Companies that my clients love to work with include:

What Does It Cover?

A basic plan typically covers the following:

  • Heating, Central Air Conditioning, Ductwork, Electrical system, Garage Door Openers, Attic – Ceiling – Exhaust Fans, Plumbing System, Plumbing Stoppages, Water Heater, Sump Pump, Dishwasher, Oven/Range/Cooktop, Built-In Microwave, Garbage Disposal, Trash Compactor

More premium plans can include:

  • Clothes washer/dryer, Kitchen Refrigerator, Plumbing Upgrade, Heating – Air Conditing Upgrade, Appliance Upgrade, Permit Fees, Code Violations, Haul Away Services, Improper Installation — Repair – Modifications

Potential add-ons to services:

  • Roof Leak, Central Vacuum, Additional Refrigerator, Geothermal Heating System, Septic System, Septic Plumbing, Above Ground Pool, Standalone Freezer, Well Pump, Pool/Spa, Ice Maker

How Does It Work?

  1. Make a Service Request. You will contact via phone or website the claims department and request servicing on the item that is deficient.
  2. Schedule Appointment. You’ll be assigned a local service technician that the home warranty company works with that will coordinate with you to schedule a mutually convenient appointment.
  3. Pay Service Fee. You will directly pay the local service technician directly for the service fee that is in your agreed upon contract. It’s running from $50-$75 with most companies. The perk of keeping your home warranty year after year is that you can get grandfathered in at the same payment and it won’t go up while new clients may have service payments that are $100 down the road and yours stays at $65.
  4. Have item repaired or replaced. The service technician will determine if the item is reparable or needs to be replaced. This can get tricky when it comes to replacements – the warranty company will determine coverage eligibility and see if its a complete replacement of the item or explore a claim buyout (i.e. they would cut you a check for the item and you go get another one). There’s no one size fits all on the solutions… but this is where a lot of frustration can come from clients with home warranties as you may need an item needs to be replaced while the warranty company may say it needs one small repair or will cut a check that wouldn’t cover the expense of a new item.

Do I Really Need One?

Talk about a loaded question. I go through the should we or shouldn’t we question on the home warranty with my buyers all the time! My answer is that it truly depends for the buyer and their situation. I do think that home warranties can be very useful, especially for first time home buyers. When an appliance or item breaks down, it’s nice to have a home warranty company direct you to a local service technician and know that they’re a licensed professional coming in to repair or replace and you know upfront what that service fee will look like. I find it to be especially useful for my clients that are transferring from another city or state and they don’t yet know who their preferred electricians or plumbers are.

Advantages of having home warranty coverage in place is just like having insurance on your home. It’s most beneficial for the biggest mishaps. When a big ticket item like a hot water heater or air conditioning unit breaks down, they could potentially replace the whole unit. Imagine not having that warranty… that would cost one pretty penny! It’s even useful for when a smaller item like a dishwasher breaks down… they’ll get out their and replace the broken piece and you know what you’re paying versus blindly hiring out.

When it comes to a downfall with a home warranty, it’s truly when they can’t cover what you’re needing. They get to say yes or no to replacement of the product or how much it will be covered for. This can be frustrating… but hey, that’s ~$500 to cover the potential to replace items versus having nothing in place and paying everything out of pocket. I’m not going to lie, I do have a lot of client that never touch their home warranty. They’re lucky and nothing breaks down. That’s great! But the clients that do utilize the home warranty services, truly have benefited.

The only reason I would say to not worry with a home warranty is if you have loyalty and connections with local plumbers, electricians and HVAC specialists. It may not be worth it to pay that $500 when you know you want to call your trusted crew regardless. I totally get that. But they can’t cut you a deal (or maybe they can) when that refrigerator breaks down or dishwasher busts.

Overall, home warranties can be a great tool for homeowners. It’s all about having a little bit of protection when stuff breaks down and life ya know… happens!

The Dollhouse: Dining Room & Breakfast Nook Before and After

Now that you’ve seen all the glory of The Dollhouse’s kitchen, it’s only natural that I reveal the two rooms that are attached to it – the dining room and breakfast nook! These are two rooms that simply just got a cosmetic facelift. It really is wild, though, how some paint and the right decor can add to a space.

After tearing down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, the biggest challenge for me was how to fill up the dining room with furniture and decor that allowed enough room to roam. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m all about the flow from room to room! It was most important to me to have ample seating space that didn’t go against what I chose with bar stools on the kitchen island, but also leave space to potentially have an additional table in the dining room for future Friendsgivings or Cookie Exchange parties.

The biggest pieces that were my statements for both the dining room and breakfast nook were the light fixtures. I wanted the mid-century vibe and charm that comes with an older home. A little updating goes a long way!

THE DINING ROOM

What a difference a torn down wall can make! I’m so lucky that there are huge windows throughout the home to give so much natural light, but also that it takes up wall space and means… less decor needed! Yes, I can get lazy with it sometimes. I found the half sputnik light to be the perfect pop to the dining room, without overpowering the space. The ceilings aren’t tall enough for me to allow a full rounded sputnik or really any type of larger light fixture. It’s an attention grabber, but not overwhelming!

When it came to choosing a table, I really measured it ALL out! I wanted an oval shape as a rectangular table just would have felt too overpowering. I do wish the table could be a little wider, but there’s nothing saying I can’t keep the base and replace the top.

One piece of furniture that I was most excited to find a space for was this beautiful antique record player. This was my Grandmother Nolan’s record player and I remember it from my childhood and have always loved it. It was originally going to go in the entrance of my home where you saw it as soon as you walked through the front door, but it sat too low. We transitioned it to the dining room and it was like it was meant for that spot, especially with the Ken and Barbie picture! I mean… how fun is that print?!

The doors that go from the dining room to the living room are the originals – including handles and all! I thought they were so pretty yet so perfect to close off a space, if needed. During the quarantimes, my older sister would come do webinars in my office space and I could close myself off in the living room by shutting these doors and we wouldn’t hear a peep from each other.

I also knew that with my very minimal space for storage in The Dollhouse, that a bar cart would be a necessity! They’re cute, but also can store quite a bit of bar essentials instead of being hidden in a drawer and never used. Big shoutout to big sister Ilissa for getting me all the cute accessories and setting it up! We do useful gifts for each other around Christmas and I told her I wanted her to outfit my bar cart and she crushed it!

THE BREAKFAST NOOK

This breakfast nook is just the cutest little space. I was so lucky that it already had its built in storage that I could take advantage of – it just needed a little TLC from paint to handles and I had the electricians add in plugs hidden in the bottom cabinet so I had a place to charge my electric wine opener and potentially add in holiday decor. I’ve learned – the more plugs in a home, the better. I’m still finding spaces where I’m like “aghhhhh I should have put a plug there!!”

The cabinets in my breakfast nook needed pretties to be displayed so I decided that would be a great space for my wine and cocktail glasses along with some of my colorful coffee mugs. Since the cabinetry was going to match the kitchen, the furniture needed to be simple. I really, really wanted acrylic chairs somewhere in my house and it really helped make this room look and feel a little more open than it really is. If the cabinetry wasn’t already in this room, I would have loved to make this a booth style space with build in seating and cushions with a much larger table, but I totally love the way this space turned out!

I do still plan to add in wallpaper, but all of the ones that I love are peel and stick only. My father refuses to put in peel and stick as it’s not permanent and will roll up over time. I get it, so I’m just being patient until I find the perfect print!!


My dining room and breakfast nook are such a fun space that just needed a little bit of love and lots of fun decor. Now that you’ve seen all of my entertaining spaces… what do you think will be next?

The Dollhouse: Kitchen Before and After

This reveal may just be my favorite one to share with you! When determining what I wanted my kitchen to be like… the main priority was entertaining friends and family. I wanted to be able to see from the kitchen to my living room and enjoy all guests, or ya know just watch TV while I’m cooking. It’s the little things, y’all.

The previous layout of the kitchen when I bought The Dollhouse made it feel so closed off from the rest of the home. There was a wall between the kitchen and dining room that I knew had to go! Once the wall was gone, it made a WORLD of difference for the flow of the living room to dining to the kitchen. I love, love that I can see straight through the house and when I do entertain, I can see all my guests in each room.

The kitchen also had a couple of unique items that older homes tend to have like a washer and dryer in the kitchen and a built in ironing board. There was a lot of creativity that had to be used when designing the new kitchen layout to help fit in all of my needs and wants, while moving items like a washer and dryer to the master room.

If there’s one thing I’m most proud of… it’s the BOLD GREEN I chose for my cabinets. That is one choice that I never thought twice about. Seriously, no regrets! I wanted the cabinets to feel funky and retro and just POP when you walked in with a flooring that really hit the vibe of my 1930s style home. While I have beautiful hardwoods throughout my home, the kitchen had a different type and size of wood that would have never looked right against the rest of the flooring, so I searched hard for the perfect vinyl tile that would compliment the kitchen cabinets.

“Happiness is a small house, with a big kitchen.”

Alfred Hitchcock

THE KITCHEN

I mean case and point for what breaking down a wall can do! It went from being closed and not knowing what was going on in the kitchen to airy, open and happy. I wanted a big, open and level countertop to place lots of foot on for parties and to be able to cook and chat with friends or family. All my life, I’ve always sat and chatted with my mom in our home kitchen while she cooks and it’s where we’ve always gathered as a family – I wanted that, too!

It’s all about that line of sight! I know I didn’t want a vent hood getting in my way, so I really splurged on getting a downdraft oven so that nothing would mess with the open feel of the home. Designing this cabinet layout was TOUGH. I really, really wanted a downdraft oven and microwave drawer, but also wouldn’t budge on a hidden trash compartment and cookie sheet corner. I love to bake and cook, so I designed the kitchen with that in mind and the flow of how I cook!

From the previous layout, I really tried to mirror where the sink plumbing already was. Where I could cut costs from moving lines or wires, I did. If you didn’t know by now, I’m a big lover of all things WINE! One non-negotiable for this kitchen was a wine fridge. I had a couple of cabinetry people tell me I just simply didn’t have enough room, but it’s custom cabinetry y’all… we MAKE ROOM! I’m so happy with all the space in these cabinets and saved the very tip top cabinets for entertaining dishes like charcuterie boards and bowls.

Seeing as I didn’t think I would get much use out of a washer and dryer in my kitchen, I moved a stackable unit into my master closet which is right behind this wall. It took some rearranging, but makes so much more sense! I moved my fridge to this corner pocket and made room for a big fridge that I can hold beverage and long platters in. This wall felt so empty and I couldn’t even start to think of how to decorate such a large space and then BAM a cookbook display came to mind! I love reading through cookbooks and having them displayed and right at my fingertips instead of hidden in a cabinet motivates me more to read through them. Such a fun but useful way to take over a large wall space in a kitchen.

This is probably these greatest use of space YET! While my family and I were looking at this built in ironing board trying to decide what to change it to, my older sister Ilissa had the brilliant idea to turn it into a spice cabinet! I mean… GENIUS! Now I don’t have spices taking over my tiny pantry and I have easy access when cooking. When my carpenter was measuring, though, I brought over all of my favorite spices and sprays to ensure that everything would fit.

Although my pantry is in a back hallway, I still wanted it to match and flow along with the kitchen for access and convenience. We had toyed with keeping the original one and just adding new cabinet faces, but my Dad accidentially tore it down when demoing… so it’s all fresh and new like everything else!

A COUPLE MORE PRETTIES…

The vibrancy and pop of this bold green makes me so happy every time I’m in my kitchen. I made this kitchen work for and function for ME! I truly think everyone should have a bold color on their cabinets and some funky flooring to add a finishing touch! I did try to simplify all other items like my white quartz countertops and subway tile backsplash. It’s fun, funky and colorful. Now I’m going to read through some of my favorite cookbooks and get to cooking some dinner!

Thanks for visiting my Dollhouse!