Radio silence and random buys

Usually when we take a break around here it’s unintended. This time was no different. After what seemed like a Herculean effort to finish the carport turned garage, Aaron turned his attention to real work, like shooting and editing images for the lovely people who hire us for their weddings.

It’s all part of our natural ebb and flow with renovation projects. Right now energy is low and other priorities are taking center stage. We’ve also been drinking in the occasional free weekend in our wedding season. That means firing up the smoker (I’m still drooling over the beef brisket we inhaled a few weeks ago), hitting up the farmer’s market, grabbing brunch, spending some time on the most lovely couch in the world, and strolling through a few antique malls.

A recent trip produced quite an array of finds. Let’s take a look.


It funny to see it all laid out because it seems like a true slice of our lives: construction, photography, decorating, adult beverages and cooking.


These crocks are my favorite baking vessel when I’m making cherry crisp for the two of us. After shattering one, I was on a serious hunt to re-complete my set. In the very last row of the antique mall, I stumbled on two crocks as part of a larger set for just $8.


These glass drink stirrers will look fabulous on the new bar we’re planning. We grabbed two sets for just $5 each.


I’m a little obsessed with ALL the white dishes. I’ve been eying custard cups like these for a while. They are the perfect size for dip-able condiments. These six white cups with zero chips were just $5 so I snatched them up.


We’ve gotten very picky on which decanters come home with us because our collection is quite large, and we don’t have the right bar for all those bottles. This one stole our heart with its simple, curvy lines. I think this guy was just $15.


One of the things I love about antique malls is that you never know what will strike your fancy. These stone bookends jumped out to both of us. We have a growing collection of books, and one house can only handle so many stacks of books. The warm tones and clean lines on this set will play perfectly in nearly any room. At $25 we felt like they were a steal.



Speaking of books… they are constantly on my scouting list. I love picking up over-sized tomes at antique malls, where they cost a fraction of the price of new books. My favorite to date is the one living on our bar that says “WINE” on the spine.

We’re partial to photo heavy books and this National Geographic book featuring lakes, peaks and prairies instantly caught our eye. I always, always look behind the dust cover because I know it’s coming off when we get home. This book won with a simple design cover design, a publishing date in Aaron’s birth year, and a low price tag.


We love the shape of this glass piece. Ultimately we think it will be a lamp, but the “tea storage” label makes it a piece I’m happy to display as is.


We love fondue. It’s a thing. It’s coming back. $3 for vintage forks = yes, please!


After years (literally) of searching for a Viewmaster in good shape at a reasonable price, Aaron finally scored one a few months ago. So when we saw a rack of reels, we scoured them for interesting images. A few national parks and the Art and Space Exhibit at the Smithsonian (a nod to Aaron’s love of all things space related) were easy choices at just $1.25 a pop.


At antique malls, we always gravitate toward “old man booths.” Old guys keep the most interesting stuff. And when it’s time to get rid of said stuff, it creates a booth that seems like you’re digging through your grandpa’s garage. In this booth, we nabbed some corner braces and string for just a few bucks.

So that’s our recent antique mall spree. Is anyone else beating the summer heat by killing a few hours at antique malls. I’d love to see your finds!

This means I need a green thumb, right?

Sorry for the accidental hiatus. We’ve had a jam packed few weeks that included a trip to Chicago where we shot an engagement session, made real life friends with some fellow (awesome!) home bloggers, and stocked up on Ikea goodness. As soon as we got back, Aaron got sick, I got a really bad haircut (like texting-my-boss-to-say-I-had-to-work-from-home-until-it-was-resolved bad), I caught Aaron’s cold, my computer decided to die and we restructured how our blog images are saved so Aaron can do the photo editing. Oh, and the St Louis Post-Dispatch stopped by to shoot the firehouse for an upcoming issue (details when we have them). Anyways, how have you been?

The ipe fence/carport wrap is still crawling along. It may be the project that never ends. The only positive is that we’ve been spending a lot of time outside. It’s made us crave plants and a recent brunch outing to new-to-us spot gave us a place to scratch that itch. Cafe Osage is a super sweet cafe that actually sits inside of Bowood Farms – an urban nursery a few blocks from the firehouse.

The biggest problem is that we have plant fright. (That’s a thing, right?) We literally have no idea what to plant. It’s compounded by the fact that during the summer we have little to no time to keep things, besides ourselves and our dog, alive. We’re also not quite ready to commit to landscaping. Even though the staff at Bowood is beyond helpful, right now we’re sticking to the plants in pots (besides a few lilac bushes we sprang for.)

On our first trip, I loaded up on herbs to create a patio garden and bring some life to what we’ve recently dubbed “the courtyard.” (It will make more sense when… if… when we get the carport finished.)



I had some success last year with a basil and mint plant, in part because I walk right by them every day, making it easy for me to remember to give them some water.

If all goes well, I’ll be mixing up meals using three kinds of basil, mint, dill, rosemary, Italian parsley, thyme and two types of oregano!




I also picked up a little flowering something for the other side of the door. Hopefully it withstands the heat of the steel fence this summer.


The Ikea trip also fueled some additional indoor plants thanks to this sweet shelving unit (assembled by moi in just under two hours and just under a bottle of wine. Great success!) and a bevy of cheap white pots. We really wanted to bring some plants into this space to warm it up. This white flat-pack shelf had the right dimensions and price to fill the space.




On that trip to Bowood, we grabbed a lot of “Oooh that looks nice” plants and made sure to run our choices by one of the staff members. She gave us the OK to plant all of these inside, even though some of them were in the outdoor section. She also hooked us up with some fertilizer, which I’m hoping extends my meager plant care skills.




Oh my, do I love succulents!







Last, but not least we scored a sweet mid century planter at The Future Antiques when we picked out our new living room tables. This (rubber?) plant seemed like the perfect addition to our bedroom.





That’s a lot of plants! I think I need a lot of luck… Are you adding any greenery to your space (indoor or out)? Any tricks for a barely-better-than-novice plant grower?

Our House Hunters episode is online!

UPDATE: The House Hunters site was refreshed and our episode is no longer available. But you can check it out on Netflix. Look for the episode titled “St. Louis Cool.”

One of our awesome photography clients pinged me last night on Facebook to let us know that our episode of House Hunters is online! If you haven’t had the chance to catch it on TV or want to relive it over (and over and over) again,here’s your chance!

A cool, funky cabinet

When we stumbled on this locker at an antique mall, we were instantly smitten. (I’m sure no one is surprised because we will buy ALL THE LOCKERS)




It had a bunch of sweet features (those feet) and seemed liked a good temporary solution for covered storage in the awesome bathroom.

It had a bit of an odor issue, but we brushed that concern away, reasoning that it could be fixed with a good cleaning. Months later we’ve finally wrestled this into place and the odor is much more pronounced. My theory is that prior to sitting at the antique mall it was left open. At our house, it was left closed and the odors built up.


It’s a lovely aroma of motor oil, chemicals and rust. Be glad this isn’t smell-o-vision.



I hit up the interwebs for some suggestions on eliminating cleaning odors from metal cabinets. (File that under things I never thought I would research.) Most sites suggested a baking soda bath.


You make a thick paste using baking soda and water, smear it on the surface and let it dry.  I decided to test the method on the shelves. Most of the stains were concentrated in this area and if the method seemed to work, then I could treat the rest of the surfaces (sides, back, door).



The mixture dried fairly quickly, but I let it set for a week. Then I gave it a good wipe down with water.

The result? Despite the fact that it literally stripped the paint off the shelves, it still smells really bad. Womp, womp.



I’m not sure where to go from here. I could spray paint the inside, but I’m not sure that will totally mask the stench, which is critical if I’m going to store linens in here. It also seems like a lot of effort for a temporary arrangement. Ultimately, Aaron wants to build some custom storage in here.

He’s currently working on the layout for his workshop. If I give up on this piece, I’m sure it will find a happy home in the basement.

So, what do you think blog readers? Does anyone have any tips on removing these smells or should I give up the fight?


One year ago we made the craziest decision of our lives

One year ago we signed a million pieces of paper and the firehouse officially became ours.

As with any anniversary, it’s amazing how long and how short one year can feel. The firehouse definitely feels like home, even though we still call it “the firehouse” (which entertains our realtor-turned-friend to no end.)

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The other night we mused about what life would be like if we hadn’t found this place. It was hard to imagine. Surely we’d be on the hunt to buy a live/work building, but now that we’ve found our dream space, it’s depressing to think about what we might have settled for. Thanks, firehouse, for coming into our lives at the right time.


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Looking back it’s been a whirlwind of a year. One year ago tomorrow, the crew from House Hunters arrived to shoot our episode. After that renovations were in full force, with Aaron and the contractor working to dramatically change the first floor (hello windows!) and exterior (looking at you, carport and patio). We spent more time than we expected outside, putting up (most of) a fence and upgrading the front of the firehouse.

The studio was a constant focus throughout the year. Although we’d hesitate to call it “done,” it’s by far the best looking space in the firehouse. When we finally got word that our House Hunters episode would air in mid-October, it was a mad dash to finish what we could and clean, clean, clean.

Oh, and we did all this while photography 20+ weddings (and engagement sessions, meeting with clients and doing all of the other things it takes to run a business.)

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Renovations slowed over the last three months as Aaron worked to deliver images to our fall wedding clients and we took a few moments to build a new bridal show booth.

A few cans of paint eeked the master bedroom (and a few other spaces) onto the “upgraded in the first year” list.

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Despite all of that progress and many more mini updates, it’s easy for us to focus on the (many, many) items on our giant to do list. At least for today (ok, who are we kidding, at least for this post) it’s nice to take a deep breath, pat ourselves on the back and marvel at what we’ve done in JUST 365 days.

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Thanks for taking this journey with us. Your comments (here, on Facebook, on Instagram and in real life) are always appreciated.

It’s been an awesome, crazy, life-altering year. One that we wouldn’t trade for anything.