Here we are at the end of another year, and I love to use this time to reflect on all that has happened in the last 365 days. This year was one of the fullest and busiest of our lives, and a lot of that has to do with all of you and exactly what this blog is all about: home renovation and design. Blogging has taken a backseat this year on account of all the real life projects that have had to take precedence, but there is so much to share that I haven’t had time to share. I will give you a little snapshot here, and hopefully I will have time in 2018 to share more of a real time snapshot of our projects as they happen.
We started the year by selling our first little home in March. It was the home that started this little space on the internet and gave my love for renovation and design a place to blossom. You all were a huge part of that house, and you journeyed with us from the start.
We moved into our second house, and we began the biggest renovation of our lives thus far. In eight short (and yet long) months, we have gutted and rebuilt nearly the entire main floor. This included but was not limited to:
- New roof
- New windows
- Updated plumbing
- Rewiring most of the electrical in the main spaces
- Refinishing all the existing hardwoods and installing new hardwood in the kitchen and dining.
- Taking the kitchen down to the studs and starting over with…
- New kitchen cabinets
- New appliances
- New layout
- New pantry
- New countertops
- New plumbing
- New beadboard ceiling
- Removing a patio door in the kitchen and installing French doors in the dining room
- Vaulting the ceiling in the living and dining spaces and finishing it out with new drywall and fixtures
- Custom built-ins in the dining room
- Gutting and rebuilding the bathroom with…
- New vanity and sink
- New flooring
- New tub and tile surround
- New toilet
- New drywall
- Painted office, updated light fixture and installed built-in desk
For the first three months of the reno, we lived in the dank, unfinished basement, and for the last month and a half, we lived without a working shower. People warned us that renovating would be hard, but I underestimated just how hard it would be. I have to admit, however, that these before-and-after photos are pretty satisfying.
For blog posts with more detail from our home renovation, see:
Around the same time that we decided to buy a new home, I decided (after lots of prayer and preparation) to leave my full-time job to do interior design. I had already worked with a few clients, but I knew it was time to take the leap and work with clients full-time.
As soon as I dove in, it was off to the races, and I’ve had the privilege of working on 24 client’s homes this year with projects ranging from full room renovations to simple furnishing projects. It has been overwhelming and wonderful, and I know it’s such an honor to be able to help other people make their spaces beautiful. I have learned so much about small business ownership and self-employment, and I cannot wait to work with more clients and work even harder to create an amazing client experience in 2018.
I have big dreams and plans for Peach and Pine Home, and I know there is so much to look forward to.
A lot of my projects from the year haven’t been photographed yet, and I can’t wait to share more with you at the top of next year, but here are a few highlights.
Thanks for sticking around even though we have often been too busy to share things properly! I hope you’re following us on Instagram @peachandpinehome; that’s the easiest way to see the progress of our projects.
Cheers to life and to the new year; may your days be merry and bright!
Hey all, Jeremy here. You might remember a pretty popular post Chandler wrote last year called "A Gift Guide for the Handy Guy." That post got a lot of good response, so I thought I might try my hand at a volume 2!
I'm a pretty simple guy who often has trouble thinking of what I want at Christmas or at my birthday. In fact, this year Chandler and I aren't really doing Christmas gifts for each other at all. That being said, there are some things I've come across throughout the year that are really cool, so I thought I'd share them here. Hope you enjoy!
1. Filson 24-Hour Tin Briefcase. I got my briefcase from Filson about 2 weeks ago and I am LOVING it! I wanted to get away from backpack life and start carrying less with me on a day-to-day basis, only carrying what I need very intentionally. This bag has plenty of room for everything that I need and is very stylish. It's made of great material and extremely durable. With as much traveling as I do, this is a perfect bag to carry my laptop/work stuff in.
2. Leather Saddle Gloves. These gloves are part of the Hearth and Hand with Magnolia brand at Target. Of course, you know we love most things Chip and Jo do, and I've got to be honest and say that I bought these gloves on day one of the brand launching. They are a really nice leather glove for working outside. They aren't bulky like a lot of work gloves and are just really comfortable to use. They look great too!
3. Cordless Brad Nailer. This has absolutely been a life-saver while we've been working on our renovation this year. I always hated having to drag out my big air compressor whenever I wanted to use our brad nailer. On Thanksgiving last year, Chandler and I happened to stumble into a power tool outlet store (I didn't even know such things existed!) and find this Ryobi cordless brad nailer. I've been using it ever since, and it is probably one of my most used tools to date. We have moved to using a lot of Ryobi products, and it's nice that we can switch batteries between them all on projects when necessary (we aren't sponsored by them or anything...I just really like their stuff!). Especially if you're doing any sort of trim projects, this is going to be your new best friend.
4. Troy Built TB42 Weedeater + Accessories. If you've followed us for any time, you know that we recently moved to a bit of land. Along with that has come a lot of me researching and purchasing yard products that can handle maintaining our 4.4 acres out here in Middle Tennessee. One of my first orders of business was finding a weedeater, and I landed on this Troy Built TB42. Along with getting great reviews, this weedeater is equipped with TrimmerPlus technology. Basically, this technology allows you to switch out the shaft/head of your weedeater to become different yard tools. It's pretty amazing! It actually ends up being quite a bit less expensive because instead of buying full new tools, I now just have to buy a new head for a tool I already have. The weedeater came with a brush cutter and string trimmer attachment, but all the other attachments I've bought have worked great! Here is a list of TrimmerPlus accessories:
5. Travel Mugs. I don't know about you, but travel mugs are always a struggle for me. So many of them look dumpy or are weird sizes. And of course, weird sized cups don't fit great in car cupholders, which is the whole point of having a travel mug! Enter Ello Fulton. Not only are these mugs really stylish, they are totally a normal size! Add in being BPA free, gluten free, dairy free, and having a super cool wood handle, these bad boys will help you transport your hot drink in style.
6. Flannel. This one is pretty obvious, but I'm a fan of the flannel. My favorite flannel shirts I have right now are these Slim Fit Plaid Flannels from J Crew Factory. I've got a couple and I love them! One thing I do NOT own but would love to have (one of the few things on my wish list) is this Sherpa-lined Flannel Jacket. I first found it online and then checked it out at the factory outlet in Chicago last week. It's super warm and I think it's pretty cool.
7. Stegg Kettle. I also do not own this kettle, but I sure would like to. This is probably the coolest looking electric kettle I've ever seen. Anyone I've talked to that has one loves it. It has variable temperature control to hold your water at exactly the temperature you want. And west elm sells it, so you know it's cool.
8. Steel Toe Boots. This is a repeat item from our last gift guide, but I have a little update. Obviously there are a lot of options out there, but last year I bought this pair of Sketchers Work Boots and absolutely love them. I have put them through the ringer with the renovation at the Peach and Pine Homestead, and they have withstood the test. They are hearty leather boots and possibly the most comfortable shoes I own. They are awesome.
So there's my guide! If you're a guy like me who has trouble coming up with a list, maybe something here has caught your eye. If you're a wife looking for something fun for your husband who has no idea what he wants, I'd venture to say that your husband would love anything on this list. Honestly, the phrase "it's the thought that counts," really is true, at least for me. So most importantly, whether you're a husband coming up with a wish list or a wife figuring out what to get for your handy guy, make sure your significant other knows you love them. That's what counts. Celebrate together and remember the reason we celebrate this time of year.
"They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts." - Acts 2:46
In the midst of renovating our home and living in chaos, I have held onto the hope that one day we would be able to host parties and get-togethers again. A couple of months ago, after we returned from our trip to France, I had the lavish idea to host a four-course, European inspired dinner party for a few close friends once the house was a little more put-together.
One of my biggest take aways from our trips to Europe is the way that Europeans linger over meals. Here in the States, we serve everything at once, eat, and move onto the next thing. Waiters work off tips so they like to turn over tables. In Europe, it's not unusual to spend three or four hours dining over multiple courses and the waiters aren't tipped, so they don't mind if you idle at the table.
I love sitting around a table with friends. I love the camaraderie and community that is built around sharing food and drink. A four-course dinner party was just the thing to celebrate the renovation progress!
Six of us sat around our newly built farmhouse table for four hours and simply enjoyed each other's company. We hardly looked at our phones, and there was no pressure to rush off anywhere particular. We laughed and caught up on life and talked about personalities and families and reminisced on old memories. I felt like this home that we have put so much blood, sweat, and tears (so many tears) into was being used to its fullest potential, and that satisfies my soul in a deep way.
I did enough preparation in advance (even though our oven stopped working mid-day...another story for another time) that I was able to relax and just enjoy the company when the evening arrived.
When you open your home to friends and put your time and energy into creating a space that makes them feel cherished and welcome, it is always rewarding. I find that even if there is a level of stress in the preparation, I am always grateful that I set aside the time to prioritize hospitality.
I did some Pinterest searching for dinner parties and surprisingly couldn't find much. I guess it isn't that common to throw a fancy dinner without a specific cause, but I say let's change that! So here are my tips for throwing a fancy dinner party just because! Many of these tips may seem obvious, so just skip over the things you already assumed. :-)
1. Make a guest list and pick a date
For a small dinner party, it can really throw things off if people don't show up or have a conflict, so before you shop for groceries or make big plans, decide who you're going to invite and check their schedules. I recommend keeping it small: six or eight people maximum.
We have a long list of friends we wanted to invite (and who we have invited over for other meals), but we wanted to keep this particular dinner party down to a size that would comfortably fit at our table and that wouldn't require doubling or tripling any recipes. So we chose two couples who are dear friends of ours and who we knew would have a fun time together, and I checked their schedules before finalizing plans.
2. Decide on a theme
It can be fun to pull your dinner together around a cohesive idea. For us, as I mentioned previously, we were inspired by our trip to Paris earlier this year, so everything was French-inspired, and because it's the end of Summer, I also choose ingredients that felt summery. I guess you could say it was French summertime.
3. Choose a Menu
There are lots of ways to divide your courses. We chose a salad, main course, cheese and meat course, and dessert. You could also opt for an appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert. Or some other combination; you're the boss!
Keep your guests in mind. Does anyone have a food allergy? Are there any strong preferences you know about?
Think about how much preparation you can do in advance. Because you're serving several courses and I'm assuming you don't have a maid or a butler, it helps to plan foods that can be prepared in advance over time and kept warm or cool while other courses are served.
Because everything was tied to a French summertime theme, and I wanted to have balance between light and heavy dishes, we greeted everyone with a summery, Parisian-inspired apple champagne cocktail and served simple white and red wine options with dinner. We then chose a summery watermelon and arugula salad to start, a rich mushroom risotto and salmon for the main course, a wide array of meats and cheeses from around the world, and a French take on an American dessert classic: creamy custard apple pie.
4. Plan your grocery shopping
Read through all your recipes and double and triple check your grocery list before you plan a trip to the store! Try to plan shopping the day before the event so the food is fresh but you aren't running around picking up ingredients the same day you're cooking.
5. Keep decor simple but elegant
Of course you can take the table setting to any level you so desire, but you can impress your guests with a tablescape without spending a lot of money or time. Here are a few of my favorite ways to dress up a dinner table:
- Choose different plates than your everyday service. If you don't have plates you want to use, visit a few thrift stores, yard sales or flea markets and hunt for mismatched vintage plates. It's an affordable way to collect plates that feel special and add color to a table setting. We used vintage plates for the main course and to set the table, but I used smaller plates we already owned for the other three courses.
- Buy one bunch of greenery and one bunch of flowers. This time, I picked up a large bunch of olive branches and a bouquet of tulips. Spread the greenery down the table like a runner and use it to fill bouquets. Use pitchers, mason jars or vases to house the flowers and keep the arrangements low so you don't block conversation.
- Light some candles. Small tealights in mason jars are an easy and cheap way to make a candlelit table without worrying about wax drippings.
- Invest in some fabric napkins. It automatically elevates the event!
6. Take a few minutes to print a menu and placecards
Your guests will probably be impressed when they walk in and see a pre-set menu on a menu card. I spent about five minutes typing out a menu and printed it on some card stock. I then printed my guests names on the same card stock, cut each one out and folded out placecards. A few minutes of work automatically made the evening feel like an event!
7. Set aside time to cook!
I definitely underestimated the time it would take to make so much food (and let's be real...I was a little ambitious with my recipe choices). It felt like Thanksgiving! I spent most of my day preparing food, and while it worked out fine for my schedule, I will definitely be more mentally prepared for the time it will take next time I try something like this!
8. Plate your food for the guests instead of serving family style
This is a simple way to make the night feel a little more special and out-of-the-ordinary. Take time before each course to plate everything for your guests and serve it to them like a restaurant!
9. Don't sweat the small stuff.
This is true in every aspect of life and every single day, and it is something I constantly have to remind myself!
Halfway through the day as I was cooking the pie for dessert, just starting the sauce for the entree, and hadn't even started the salmon, our oven completely stopped heating. We discovered it was a problem with the old outlet from the 50s that was still in the wall, but we thought for a solid hour that we wouldn't have an oven to use the rest of the day, and we would have to skip half the food I had planned.
I kept reminding myself that the point of the evening was to spend time with friends, and even if the food didn't work as I hoped, we would still enjoy it and laugh about the mishap.
10. Allow yourself to enjoy the quality time
The point of a "just because" dinner party is to make memories and soak in time with those you love. Don't let the details distract you from what really matters. And when your guests arrive, make them the focus and let everything else happen as it may!
I haven't often discussed my career on the blog. It hasn't seemed relevant to what you all came here to read about...home design and our little married life. But, in case you were wondering, for the last six years I have worked in the music industry...as so many of us do in Nashville. I interned at a record label called Fair Trade the summer before my senior year at Belmont University (where I, ironically, studied vocal performance), and in a God-ordained right place, right time scenario, they hired me part time after my internship and eventually full time when I graduated. I started in the marketing department and was eventually able to move into a role as a radio promoter. It's a little known fact that artists have people working for them at their record labels who build relationships with radio stations all over the country to try to convince them to play their songs. That was my job. I had the honor of working for and with people like MercyMe, The Newsboys, The Afters, Hawk Nelson, Phil Wickham, Laura Story, Citizen Way and a host of other artists (keep your ears peeled for the continued amazing careers of Micah Tyler and Jasmine Murray. Y'all rock.)
This job, which I never expected and yet somehow stumbled into, has been a wonderful, life shaping, and important part of my entire adult life thus far. I have worked there longer than I've been married and since before I even was engaged. In many ways, I grew up inside my cubicle at Fair Trade. I hardly even recognize the person I was when I started at the age of 20. Fair Trade is the kind of company where people stick around if they can. My boss is one of the kindest, quirkiest, and biggest hearted people I know. My coworkers are gems. The artists we work for are the real deal, and they're impacting lives with their music.
My job has afforded me the opportunity to travel all over the country, meet amazing people, and learn invaluable skills about how to work hard, be professional, and care for people in the process. It has been a safe environment for me to try new things, make mistakes, and learn more about myself.
I have always known this was a dream job, but I've also known that it isn't my forever job. I've been on a personal journey to figure out what my forever job might be, and the Lord has been shaping and molding my heart to show me what that new path will look like. All good things must at some point come to an end.
Honestly, the new path all started with this blog, although I didn't know it at the time. When we bought our first house in 2013, the interest I've always had in decorating turned into a full blown passion. With our very limited budget and knowledge, we began fixing up that old ranch house, and I found an outlet for my lifelong love of writing in this little corner of the internet.
Eventually, a few friends began to ask for my help decorating their houses, and I realized that helping people decorate and design could be a pretty fun side hustle, so Jeremy and I started Peach and Pine in May of 2016 as a fun project to do together (and because I can hardly stand to ever sit still).
It didn't take long for me to realize that I wanted to do interior design as a career. The idea of designing and decorating homes and working with clients for a living seemed almost too good to be true. I am so passionate about it. I have to force myself to take a break; interiors get me so excited!
'The actual idea of leaving the stability of a salary and a good job to be self employed was initially terrifying and I really doubted it. But at the beginning of the year, Jeremy and I both felt very clearly that 2017 was my year to make a career change, take a risk, and do this. The timing was still hazy, but I knew I had to take a leap of faith knowing that the Lord would provide.
So over the last few months, I've hatched a plan to do this full time. I met an incredibly talented designer here in Franklin, TN named Anna Berry (check out her website here), and she offered to bring me onto her team to work with some of her clients as I start this new career. That alone is the biggest blessing, and I am so grateful for the chance to learn from one of the best and meet and work with amazing clients. I'm learning by immersion with furnishing projects, bathroom remodels, and more.
All that meant, however, that I had to say goodbye to the job that I have loved and that has loved me so well over the last six years. I broke the news to my boss and my coworkers, and they have graciously allowed me to transition out slowly over the last couple of months as I finished some projects and as they searched for my replacement (which means I've been working the equivalent of two full time jobs while renovating our house. I'm tired). But this week, my first real job is officially over.
I am writing this post as I transfer the last of my files on my work laptop to a thumb drive and clear it off for whoever will use the computer next. Strangely, the gravity of this life transition didn't hit me until I moved the last folder onto the external drive and changed the wallpaper on the desktop to something generic. That little act signaled the end for me, and the tears flowed freely.
I am so grateful for what my job in the music industry has meant for me and for the things I've learned that are already coming with me into this new season. I'm also grateful my husband still works in the music industry so hopefully I'll still see some of the people I know and love. I'm also happy to be exiting on a good note, and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has said encouraging words to me in this transition season.
'And for those of you who knew nothing of my former career and therefore care very little about this announcement, the good news for you is that I will now have all kinds of new content for you! In fact, I have three client installs happening this week alone...so there will be lots to share in the coming weeks and months. Also, if you're in middle Tennessee and need some help with your house, give me a call.
And in a final act of sentimentality, I wanted to share some photos of memories made over the last six years.