Fall Home Tour 2015

It's still 90 degrees outside here in north Texas, and it doesn't feel like autumn at all. I'm hoping that by decorating my house for the season, I'm somehow ushering in some cooler temperatures!

Every year I use the pretty much the same fake pumpkins and try them in different spots. I'm a big fan of faux pumpkins because I can't stomach the idea of buying real pumpkins (those things aren't cheap!) only to have them rot weeks later! Every single pumpkin you spy in these photos is fake, but from various sources: Michael's, Walmart, HomeGoods. I've accumulated a decent collection over the years.

I do have dried gourds as well, but I'm not sure if those count as fake or not. I'm going to count them as fake since they are preserved and I use them every year.

Here's my general philosophy when decorating for the fall season: focus on a couple of key areas (in this case, the dining room and fireplace) and then casually place little pumpkins and gourds throughout the rest of the house. I don't spend too much time on it and I definitely don't overthink it, but those small touches make the house feel homey and warm.

The dining room is the first room you see when you come in the house, so I did a full autumn tablescape. This is actually practical for us because we don't use this table unless it's a special occasion, so these place settings can stay out as long as I want. Heck, it may look just like this for Thanksgiving dinner.

Pumpkins, gourds and chartreuse pillows (stolen from my mom's pillow stash) add some small touches of fall to the formal living room. 

One of my favorite fall decorating touches is to stash a tiny pumpkin under a glass dome. It's just so darn cute.

I kept the mantel pretty simple, but I did buy myself that copper stag head at Target because I just couldn't resist. Target's fall line is to-die-for! I wanted everything. The fact that I walked away with only this is a small miracle.

I had one small gold pumpkin left, so I stashed it in the guest bathroom. Because, why not?

Now that my house is all cozy, can we please have some cooler temperatures? I'm dying to wear my boots and sweaters!

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My Mom's New House!

After two months of being crammed into our guest rooms, my mom and her dogs have moved into a beautiful new home about 10 minutes up the road!

The home search began in earnest during the second part of July, but the market here is very competitive. The first home she put an offer on ending up receiving 20+ offers! Needless to say, she didn't get that one despite her above-asking offer.

Then she found another one she liked, and she put in a full price offer. The homeowners came back to her and said, "You're the only offer, but we were really hoping to get _____ (which was $5k over the asking price)." So basically they counter-offered at $5k above what my mom offered (which was stinking FULL PRICE)! Would you be offended? We definitely were! The nerve of those people. My mom actually sent them another offer for $5k BELOW her original offer, and we never heard from them again. At least we got the last laugh!

The third house was the charm, though. And I know my mom truly loves her new house, so that makes me feel really good about it. We've missed out on multiple homes before buying our first two houses, and in both situations the house we ended up with was much better than the others. It always works out in the end!

Anyway, I wanted to show you some photos of her new home. She had a lot of work done before she moved in, including removing all of the popcorn texture from the ceilings, painting the kitchen cabinets, removing wallpaper and repainting the master bathroom and laying new laminate floors in place of the peachy-colored carpet.

Her new home has a lot of curb appeal. She really wanted something that felt like a cottage, and I think she got that vibe with the pitched roof lines and pristine landscaping.

When you walk in the front door, the formal living and dining room are directly to the right. These are some photos from the original listing:

This house has a lot of beautiful moulding and trim work. It's very elegant. We're not a fan of those brown boxes on the wall, so those will soon be painted to match the rest of the wall color.

When you look straight ahead, you can see all the way to the back of the house, where the kitchen and great room are located. That hallway to the left contains the three guest bedrooms, two baths and the laundry room. The master bedroom is split to the back of the house, which is really nice.

And here's the kitchen and great room, where I'm sure we'll spend a lot of time hanging out.

Right off the great room is the master bedroom, which features some huge windows looking into the backyard.

And here's the master bathroom, with its dated wallpaper, carpeted floors and shiny gold finishes.

That's how the house looked when she bought it, but my mom started fixing it up right away. I went to visit a few days into the process and grabbed these quick snapshots on my phone. The tile was ripped up in the entryway, along with the carpet in the formals, great room and master. She replaced that with a nice laminate floor.

She didn't want the house to feel too formal - and it leans that way because of all the fancy woodwork and trim - so she picked a floor with a lot of color variation that warmed the spaced up a little bit.

One of the other big changes was in the kitchen. She didn't like the medium brown color of the cabinets, so she painted them Sailcloth by Benjamin Moore. Such an amazing difference! She also painted the walls in the kitchen my go-to color, Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore.

I mean, look at how different this room feels already! It's amazing what some paint can do. We both hated the back splash originally, but now it's actually bearable. It's all about the color combos and how they work together.

She still has a lot of work to do, but she's just getting started. She's unpacking and rearranging and tinkering and doing all of that fun stuff she loves to do. She has big plans, so I promise to share her makeovers with you as we go!

Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers and well-wishes as we have been navigating these tough couple of months after my dad passed away. I'm so proud of my mom's resilience and strength. It hasn't been easy, but this house feels like a new era for her and our entire family. When tragedy strikes, we have no choice but to do the best we can to put our lives back together. A house is just one piece of the puzzle, but it's a big piece. And it's a great start.

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