A very Merry Christmas

A portrait of Mojo has been on my wish list since I found out about and quickly fell in love with the Pet Portraits painted by the uber talented Kim from Yellow Brick Home.

Guys, I must have been really nice this year because this was waiting amongst the boxes marked “To: H Love: A”


OMG! I can’t even…


Look at all those perfectly placed spots! The detail work is amazing. Kim is amazing. Seriously, if you haven’t drooled over her work, go right now.

Kim – Thank you so, so much! It’s even more incredible than I ever dreamed.


Obviously, Aaron is also amazing. He confessed to confiscating my phone under the guise of a “software update” to get access to more pictures of Mo (because if you follow me on Instagram you know it’s basically more Mojo than anyone can handle). Then he worked with Kim to choose the perfect images – this is actually a composite (seriously, stop it! I  couldn’t be more impressed) because our photo hating dog (yes, there is a lot of irony there) didn’t give Aaron the exact look he wanted.


Mojo approves (or is very confused).


What did I get him? Well, most of my funds went toward a Mac Daddy smoker when his second cheap-o option bit the dust this fall. We can now smoke a rack of ribs, a brisket, a duck and two turkey thighs at once. But I also tucked a few decanters under the tree. He rounded out my art-centric holiday with two maps (one KC and one St Louis) and a few items from Anthropologie.

What was your favorite gift (to give or receive) this season? Our favorite item to give away was a sweet plastic semi-truck that can store 50 Hot Wheel cars that went to our nephew. I really wish I would have had the camera ready when he pulled off the wrapping paper.

More pondering, this time about the floors

Alternate title: Can someone gift us ~3,500 square feet of old factory flooring? Because that’s what we’d love to install throughout the firehouse. Reality hits pretty hard when you start looking at the price of reclaimed wood.

Assuming that the scratch-off lottery tickets Santa always tucks in our stockings don’t pay out big this year, we’re on the hunt for more economical floor coverings. While we don’t need to install anything right away, we do need to make some serious decisions before the kitchen reno we’re noodling.

Right now the firehouse floors are a hodge podge. Downstairs the kitchen is covered in dark tile. The best thing I can say about the tile is that it doesn’t show a lot of dirt.


The rest of the downstairs has been coated in an epoxy akin to what you would put in a finished garage. The fun (sarcasm) thing about this coating is that it would either need to be removed via shot blasting or covered completely. The options get thin when you consider the 4″ lip that borders the wall to the studio which has also been COVERED in this material. Palm meet face…


Upstairs, the same coating exists in the living area and hall, except it’s a nice shade of poop brown.


Both guest bedrooms have low-quality laminate flooring.



And we can tell in the workout room that the former floor left a lot of… glue?? We think it may be residue from old linoleum tile.


The master suite is a combo of uninspiring ceramic tile.


We don’t HAVE to decide on floors for the upstairs, but we do want to consider the overall aesthetic. Aaron’s been pinning lot of options. If you want a glimpse into “what’s in their heads/what could we see in the future in the firehouse” you should definitely follow Aaron’s Pinterest account. If your Pinterest interests lie more in the cooking/desserts/some home stuff/really random, then feel free to follow mine as well.

But I digress, let’s take a look at some of the contenders.

Painted Plywood


Image via Little Green Notebook

I love, love, love this image. It seems I’m not alone considering nearly 200 people have re-pinned it from Aaron’s page.

This would certainly be a cheap option, but we’re not sure how to get that perfectly weathered look. We could paint some plywood and let it wear, but the traffic patterns would be pretty pronounced. Painting and sanding prior to installation seems like it might work. The other knock on this option is that it would be a pretty bold pattern when spread across a lot of space.

Plank Plywood


Image found on Pinterest (Original source)

Another economical choice, that’s getting kind of popular on Pinterst. We like it because we could do wide planks that would be reminiscent of an old factory floor. But it would take a lot of time for Aaron to fabricate all of the pieces and the subfloor.

Stained Concrete


Image found on Pinterest (Original source)

True to our industrial loving hearts, we’ve always been fans of stained concrete. Truthfully we were a little bummed that the concrete floors in the firehouse had already been epoxyed. Considering the square footage we need to cover, shot blasting the floors clean and staining them might actually be a good option. Cost is a big question mark, as is whether the concrete will look good enough to be stained when the shot blasting is done.

Steel Floors


Image found on Pinterest (Original Source)

This wins the “interesting use of materials” category. We like the dark look and the chance to incorporate more steel, but we’re not sure of the logistics. We don’t love the tile pattern above so we could try DIY-ing it with some bigger panels.

Thoughts? Votes? Winning lottery tickets?


Noodling the kitchen walls

Clearly things are slowing down a bit here at the firehouse. Aaron is trying to edit his way through our fall wedding season and we’re gearing up (or maybe down is the right word) for winter. It’s always been our chance to recoup from the craziness that is our life 9ish months of the year.

That doesn’t mean things will totally stop. We have a few winter break plans that are good “for now” changes and could ultimately save us a step in the long run. I’m looking at you awful skin-toned and red walls in the upstairs living room. I have a bucket of white paint with your name on it.

We’re also scheming for next year, which seems to be a hot topic as I know my parents have some sort of wager over what space we tackle next. Even though part of me wants to wait until we have an Ikea (OMG! I can’t even explain to you how close this is to the firehouse. Like, we could walk… long walk… and we couldn’t buy much, but still…), the kitchen is high on the list for the next major project. It has us pondering what we could do in the spring and summer to get ready for an overhaul next winter.

The biggest question in this space is the layout. Right now the kitchen is firmly hidden behind two walls, which really flies in the face of our desire for an open floor plan. Here’s a few views from the dining room.



This is the view walking into the space from the studio. Dining room to the left, living room to the right.


Ideally, we’d like to take out the whole wall facing the dining room and the corner the juts into the living room. Here’s a mock up.


From the living room side it looks like this.


And we want to get ride of that blue section.


Just like in a normal home, this all comes down to whether the wall is load bearing. Even if it is, we could add a post and beam to keep the structure intact. The problem is we can’t tell whether it’s load bearing because it’s made of glazed brick.

This seam (in the dining room) makes us think that the kitchen wall is free standing.


We’ve also been able to peek into this hole (which is right at the corner and maybe used to be a drinking fountain?) We can see a vertical I-beam on the dining room wall, but not much else.


Then we realized that the kitchen ceiling is a lot shorter. It was nearly impossible to photograph, but we’d basically be left with this much height difference. I’m sure we could make it work, but we’re not totally sure the glazed brick would stay in place long enough to re-support it if we tore everything out in the blue area.


Right now our worst case scenario is only demoing the wall facing the dining room and building back an upper wall (probably with drywall) so that the opening looks something like this.


So that’s a long way of saying “We don’t know what to do.” We think an architectural engineer could give us some guidance. Is there a section for that in the phone book??