OUR STAIRCASE: THE RENOVATION // WEEK ONE

 
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A little behind our original schedule, but: THE STAIRCASE RENOVATION HAS BEGUN! And, it has been moving quickly! Everyday now, I leave for work and come home to massive changes! It's so exciting!

THE PLAN:

Let's rewind a little.
As mentioned months ago, we thought the kitchen or bathroom would be the first thing to change, but after living in the house for a bit, we decided to do the biggest thing (besides the kitchen) first and not only fix the staircase, but actually re-structure it and change the angle. Crazy, right? In order to do this, we agreed to lose one of our bedrooms and also expand the living room (See more of the plan and inspo here).

Once our contractor approved the renderings from our engineer, we hit the ground running!

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BEFORE:

Here are some before photos. FIrst, from inside the front bedroom... and don't forget that half-assed closet in which the original staircase cut through...

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And from the original living room looking towards the front bedroom where the new arch is going to be between the two spaces.

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BEGIN:

Day One: I left for work and when I got home the wall was gone! I was in complete awe. I know you see this kind of thing all the time on HGTV and how opening walls makes such an impact, but WOW it really does! I can't imagine the wall ever being back there! And the funny thing is, once our contractor started to tear down the wall, he found that there was originally an opening at some point that someone had the bright idea to close! Can you believe it?

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A few days later they removed the old staircase and it got even crazier. We could walk inside the area and see the original lathe and plaster, and really smell the old house. Luckily, we haven't come across anything too weird in the walls, unlike the attic where Danny found a ton of treasures while clearing it out for our new electrical and insulation. 

Once the new stairs get put in, this left-over extra space will be a large closet - something we really lack in this house.

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Looking in from the living room now is such a weird feeling considering we slept in the front room for the last six months! It honestly doesn't even feel like the same house, and in the best way. We have started playing around with different ideas of how we will designate the spaces now (living room, dining room, etc), but we are so early on that it's hard to even envision exactly what it will be like. We are waiting until the new stairs start going in, BUT we are thinking this will be the new dining room!

I am getting really excited to finally pick paint, trim, install new lighting, and - most importantly - to eventually bring home all of our furniture that has been sitting in storage since November! 

There is still a ton of work to be done, but jumping the hurdle to get the project started is done!
Another update in a few weeks!

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OUR FIRST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY // OREGON COAST

 
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ONE YEAR MARRIED!

Holy cow that went by fast! And again, what a year it has been! (married/dog/bought house/moved to new state)

To celebrate, we decided to take it easy and do a weekend roadtrip trip down the Oregon Coast to explore more of what this beautiful new state of ours has to offer.

ASTORIA
Once I got home from work Friday evening, we piled into the van and set off west to Astoria! I've always wanted to go to Astoria - I mean because Kindergarten Cop and the Goonies, duh - but, also because I always hear about how cute it is. And well, yeah it was. I wanted to punch it a little. Steve was super excited to be back in VanLife.

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We arrived just at dusk for dramtic views of the Astoria-Megler bridge which was literally next to our hotel! We stayed at this awesome, super cute place called the Atomic Motel which is as it sounds: Mid Century / Retro! Bonus: they even offer you free beer at check-in and there's a great little breakfast and coffee every morning. Would totally stay here again and would recommend! AND they are ESA pet friendly!

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We didn't have much time in Astoria, but we made it to Fort George's Brewing, up to the Astoria column for some great 360 views, indulged in the most delicious fish 'n chips at the historic Bowpicker, and checked out Fort Stevens and the old ship wreckage. It was Steve's first time on the beach, so it was funny to see how he would act! It was so cute to see the sand between his toes! I think he liked it!

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CANNON BEACH

From Astoria we headed south to Cannon Beach, another Oregon Coast town I've been dying to visit, and to see the Haystack in real life. And wow, it's so impressive up close! I mean just look at the scale of Danny & Steve! Our friend, Rachel, referred to Steve as a mini haystack. The beach itself is very popular, full of families, dogs, kite flyers, and beach bums. You can probably sit here all day and people watch. The town itself is also a very cute, cozy little village filled with cafes, local artisans, and bed & breakfasts. It is definitely a place I want to revisit and stay at soon.

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CAPE LOOKOUT POINT

From Cannon Beach, we traveled a little more south to an area near Tillamook and Netarts called Cape Lookout Point, which  is a National Park/Beach with camping and hiking trails. They offer traditional tent camping spots as well as yurts and car/van/RV camping - so, we appropriately van camped because VanLife is the best life. 

We BBQ'd, sipped wine and beer as we walked along the beach at golden hour, and made dark chocolate s'mores. It was kind of the best, and so low-key. It was exactly what we needed.

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Since hiking is one of our favorite things to do together, we woke up early and tried out one of the many trails Cape Lookout has to offer. Although we did take a wrong turn and ended up on a longer trail (the Cape Trail instead of the South), it was a beautiful time with beautiful scenery, cool weather, and kind people. Steve joined us again in his little backpack and everyone loved it.

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I kinda started to get all gushy and sappy on our anniversary - thinking back on the events of our wedding weekend and all the feelings. Getting married is such a special time. I know it's not for everyone and that's okay, but having all your friends and family around in one place at the same time for a few days is truly a dream come true.

It was a perfect first anniversary and I am so lucky to be married to this man.
Happy Anniversary, Husband. xo

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Wedding photos by Even Keel Weddings

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LIFE LATELY

 
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It's been a minute. Life got really busy after Easter, and finding time to blog has been difficult. Here is what we have been up to.

 

PERSONAL
So, I guess the biggest thing that has happened was my change of jobs. I knew my first job in Portland wasn't the right fit since day one, and job-hunting for an ideal position similar to the one I had in Los Angeles was more time-consuming than I had anticipated. But, with patience, I landed a perfect position at an awesome company, and it's been even better than I imagined. I am so glad to be there!

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OUR HOUSE
Word on the street is that home renovations always take longer than you wanted. Well, thats 101% true. Here we are, entering June, and besides my husband's studio project, putting a new toilet into our main bathroom, and painting one of the bedrooms, then turning it into an office, and now our bedroom, not much has physically has happened to our house. But, good news: demo for our stairs starts next week, so I will have some fun updates to share soon!

The backyard: We have been making progress on our garden! When you move into a home in late fall/early winter, in a place that actually has seasons, you don't know what you have growing in your yard until Spring! But, back in March, I got antsy and we went to the nursery to buy a peony bush (because I have a backyard now, damnit). So, I bought a Coral Charm because they are my absolute favorite and duh. We planted it and were excited to watch it grow. Little did I know, our backyard was filled with peony bushes! Within weeks, tons of shoots started to sprout. I couldn't believe it! If we would've known when we first saw the house, I would've said SOLD right away. Now, we will never have to buy overpriced peonies at the store again! And I have tons to share!

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In additional to the peonies, our garden has also been sprouted tulips, four different color irises, tiger lilies are coming soon, and our apple trees are started to populate baby fruit for the Fall!

Last weekend, I also felt like we needed more color and foliage, so I headed back to the nursery, and bought some fancy rose bushes on a whim. I mean, I actually don't love roses, but this is Portland so it seemed like a must-have. Since our backyard shares an exterior wall with our neighbor's garage (with the window looking into our yard), I thought it would be a perfect place to plant climbing roses. I really wanted to bring in some more vibrant colors to pop on the blue paint, so I got Pretty In Pink Eden roses. I can't wait util they start blooming and getting huge! It's going to smell heavenly out there!

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Lastly! We bought some cute patio lounge chairs from Ikea and it has made a huge difference! We love to sit outside and sip coffee in the mornings. But something was missing: A Fire Pit! So, this past weekend, Danny and I jumped in the van and picked up a ton (literally felt like a ton) of masonry stones and built our very own fire pit! Should be up and running soon! I'm so excited to spend evenings out there!

It's safe to say that our yard is turning into a magical garden.

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EXPLORING
Travel has slowed down a bit due to house projects and my career change, but we have managed to get out and explore a little more of Oregon. Early Spring is tulip season and the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is where it is at! From seeing photos on Instagram I knew it was going to be beautiful, but it was more stunning in person than we thought. Tulips of every color literally went on forever! I definitely recommend stopping by here if you are in Northern Oregon around this time.
Pro tip: bring your rain boots! It is VERY muddy!

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Then, our friends from Vancouver, B.C., came down to visit us in April and we headed to an area of Mount Hood called Rhododendron. We rented this super charming cabin in the woods that was vintage but cozy. Scattered with many hiking trails near by, we chose to tackle the trail to Ramona Falls. Roughly about 3.5 miles each way, we were faced with crossing a river by shimmying over logs and trekking through tons of snow! It was a pretty challenging hike, but making it to the falls made it worth while! I hope we can visit them again in the future! Steve came along, too, but he chose the luxury route - in a backpack on Danny's back!

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 Look at these Canadian Cuties! And they are expecting August 2018!

Look at these Canadian Cuties! And they are expecting August 2018!

As part of my birthday gift back in January, Danny wanted to take me to this Alpaca Farm about an hour from our house in an area called Molalla! And man did we luck out: upon arriving for our tour, it turned out the others that were supposed to join were no-shows, so we got a private tour! Oh my god, they are so freakin cute! It's so funny how each Alpaca is so different from another, all with their own faces and personalities. Not only did we get to admire and learn about them, but we got to feed them, walk them, and pet them! It was so special. Thank you, Marquam Hills Ranch!

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And then somehow in the thick of things, Danny and I made it to Los Angeles for a weekend to celebrate his sister and dad's birthdays as well as Mothers Day. It was a quick trip, but we were able to pack in seeing our best friends and even went to my first metal show to see Behemoth. I am now a fan of metal.

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 Shitty concert photo.

Shitty concert photo.

So, with blog radio silence came a lot. Time moves really quickly nowadays, and I know it's only going to move faster soon. It's crazy to think about what we were doing last year at this time, getting ready for our wedding, or two years before just having gotten engaged, and here we are now living in Portland taking care of our dog and working on our home. A lot can happen in a short amount of time, and I keep trying to remind myself to slow down and try to document and store memories before I lose them. I am also excited and looking forward to seeing where we will be another year from now.
xo

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