A Simple DIY Outdoor Plant Shelf To Disguise Ugly Utility Boxes

When we shared pictures of our front porch last fall, we said that our decorating strategy out here was basically “plants and more plants.” It helps visually connect the porch to all of the greenery surrounding our house and – as we’ll show you today – it’s also helping us hide some less-than-pretty parts of this outdoor area. Let’s call them wall warts. Three large rectangular wall warts. But more on that in a second.

white fluted planter | outdoor ceiling fan |wicker storage box | larger white planter | similar egg chair

First let’s travel back in time to what this all looked like last February when we put an offer in on this house (that’s our realtor in the photo below)

As you can see, we’ve already come quite a long way (you can read more about the exterior updates we did in this area herehere).

Continue reading A Simple DIY Outdoor Plant Shelf To Disguise Ugly Utility Boxes at Young House Love.

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Our Bedroom Ten Months In (Houston, We Have A Closet!)

Long story short, instead of having 8 doors that lead outside in our bedroom (yes, we really had that many), we now have 6. And spoiler alert: it’s still plenty. We really just use the middle set along this huge wall of doors to go in and out, but the view and the light that the other doors let in is truly a room-making detail. We love the view in here and all of the brightness that shines in, and the addition of the fence for our own little private courtyard out there has been so nice. It not only makes the yard feel more private, it makes the bedroom feel more nestled and private too (more on that fence/courtyard area here).

rug | similar lamps | bed frame | headboard | similar bench | ottoman | curtains | curtain rod | similar tablewood chairs | door knobs

The exciting thing about eliminating that last set of double doors (which used to be where our left nightstand and the left half of our bed are in the photo below), is that we could then move our bed into that cozy nook that was created:

rug | similar lamps | bed frame | headboard | similar bench | ottoman | curtains | curtain rod | similar tablewood chairs | door knobs

As a reminder, this is what the room looked like when we bought our house (and the two-door area that’s half open in the photo below is what we drywalled over and we now have our bed along that wall).

Continue reading Our Bedroom Ten Months In (Houston, We Have A Closet!) at Young House Love.

How We Created A Cozy Fire Pit Area In Our Formerly Boring Side Yard

We’ve been enjoying this fire pit hangout spot for months now, but it hasn’t been on the blog… until today. This is basically a lesson in how a fence can make a HUGE difference in defining an area, which can lead to adding some simple outdoor furnishings (in this case, it was four adirondak chairs and a fire pit – which hit the ground and instantly created an entirely new “outdoor room” for our whole family to enjoy).

We hang out here and make s’mores at least once a week (and sometimes a lot more than that), so it has been a very welcome addition. Especially during a time when everyone is spending A LOT of time at home, so something novel and new like this bonus hangout zone feels extra special We even made s’mores for dessert on Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, so it’s quickly becoming quite the family tradition.

Continue reading How We Created A Cozy Fire Pit Area In Our Formerly Boring Side Yard at Young House Love.

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Weekend Reading 11.14.21

We’ve had misty mornings with thick fog for over a week and there’s something so wonderful about wearing a winter coat and taking an early morning stroll in those conditions, like something out of a classic novel. 🙂 This week I’m opening up the Christmas closet and pulling out some favorites. I’ll start with the mantel, then decorate the staircase. I like to do it slow, and in sections, it feels better to take time to decorate slowly and I enjoy it much more.

I like carefully digging through my bins and pulling out objects that resonate with me each season, placing them here and there around the house. I have a lot of decor tucked away in giant bins and each year I donate things that I don’t love and add just a few new things that I do. This year I’m in the mood for natural textures with a dash of whimsy. I’ll share holiday images soon!

Favorite links from the week:

Find many beautiful design ideas in this builder home portfolio.

Blue, white, and bright: this home with coastal style in Queensland decorated for Christmas.

What a difference an arch makes: this kitchen transformation.

Impressive: give and old stove a high end look.

A variety of laundry room shelving ideas.

What happens to your body over time when you…. sit for long periods or stop eating sugar.

Reasons why your fears of what other people think are not worth your mental energy.

Fifty quotes on the subject of kindness.

Vacation destination of the week: these stunning villas in Greece.

Ha ha so good: marketing the Icelandverse.

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Playing and Pasta Making in Verona

My girlfriends and I found affordable tickets to Italy and traveled there together in October. Our destinations were Venice, Florence, and Verona, we arrived by plane in Venice then did a loop around those cities by train.

Verona is known for the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and it sits on the River Adige. It was a colony of the Roman Empire because of its navigable river, and is famous for a few castles including the Castelvecchio fortress. It was an artistic center in the Middle Ages, and today it’s a thriving smaller city in northern Italy just west of Venice.

The city of Verona is a smaller town that felt like more of a community and less of a major tourist destination. Although it’s known for the Juliet balcony attraction and first century amphitheater, what we enjoyed most were the river views, the meandering streets, and the piazzas filled with cafes. We got lucky with blue skies which were the perfect backdrop to the pastel hues on the old buildings.

For me there’s nothing better than sitting in a cafe people watching and enjoying local food amid centuries old architecture. It’s my favorite part of visiting anyplace in Europe. Below are a few snapshots from my two day exploration of Verona, plus the experience of learning to make homemade pasta!


One of the things I really wanted to do when in Italy was learn how to make homemade pasta. One of the afternoons we were in Verona we took a three hour pasta making class from a local professional chef.

Homemade pasta has a slightly different taste and texture and it’s an amazing experience to make and cook your own. We started from scratch and ended with a meal of tagliatelle in a hearty tomato sauce.

I found this pasta making course on Trip Advisor and booked it for the experience. It started in this charming small professional kitchen where we gathered in a small group to learn from Chef Cristina.


We started with flour, an egg, and a pinch of salt, then turned that into a dough. Cristina taught us how to knead the dough to activate the gluten and then her technique for rolling and cutting. (I’m sharing all the tips in a video tomorrow on Instagram stories if you’re interested!)

The proportions were this: one egg to every 90g of flour (which is between 2/3 and 3/4 cup) and a tiny pinch of salt.


Once we combined the egg and flour and salt we formed a ball of dough. Then we kneaded it for about five minutes, pulling the dough out and then forming a ball again and again. The pulling activates the gluten. We were told you know when the dough is ready when it feels as soft as a “baby’s butt” and comes back into shape when you try to indent it with your finger.

We wrapped our dough in cellophane and let it sit for 30 minutes before rolling, then unwrapped it and rolled it super thin, then folded it over like a crepe. We learned to cut the different widths for pasta (spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle) and the technique for forming tortellini and how to layer and cut ravioli.




With a hearty homemade tomato sauce on the menu, our chef instructed us to cut the width of tagliatelle which we did. She served it to us with a sparkling wine and it was delicious!


What an amazing afternoon with friends! I’ve traveled with these two ladies on multiple international trips and we always have so much fun and make great memories. I wrote an article about what makes a great travel mate last year, if you’re curious about why we travel so well together. I adore these two and we’re already planning trips for next year!


So the real question I asked myself when I got home was could I recreate it? Could I use my new skill and make my own homemade pasta?

I ordered the same Italian wheat flour on Amazon that our instructor used to make my own pasta and gave it a try.

I did it! I made homemade beef ravioli and served it to my teenage son. He loved it!

Making homemade pasta was so much simpler than I thought and there’s no need for a pasta maker. It can be done by hand! I’ve read other recipes that use semolina flour which is a very common flour used for making pasta, it comes from durum wheat and it’s coarser and darker than all purpose flour. The flour I used was a whole wheat flour imported from Italy that I linked to above.

I’ll share my experience and photos from Venice on a later date. Check tomorrow’s Instagram stories for tips and techniques on how to make homemade pasta in your own kitchen too!


Since I’m sure many are curious, there were a few extra documents that were required for us to travel to Italy. To fly, the airline required a negative covid test within 72 hours of arrival and a completed EU passenger locator form. On arrival, they check your vaccination status at border patrol. If vaccinated you’re free to enter, if not, you need to quarantine for five days. However to travel on any train or eat indoors or visit any museums, the Italian government required a green pass or proof of vaccination. To return to the US we needed a rapid covid test with a negative result to board the plane back home which we got at the Venice airport for $35.

People wore masks on planes and trains and indoors in shops and restaurants, but many chose not to wear masks outdoors when walking around or when they were seated while dining. The extra paperwork wasn’t a big deal and we didn’t feel the trip was diminished in any way by the extra requirements or masks. We were so happy to be exploring the world again after being grounded for almost two years. 🙂

Did you miss our previous article…

How To Hang An Outdoor Daybed (On Video!)

Last week we shared how we built the DIY outdoor hanging daybed that we installed on our front porch. And as promised, I’m back to share how we hung it since, if you’re like me, hanging things that are meant to support the full weight of a human body (or two!) can make you a little nervous.

It was actually extremely easy to do. So easy that we did it more than once (ha!) so that it resulted in the smoothest and most non-tipsy sway possible (our first hanging attempt made it tip forward and backwards a bit, which wasn’t ideal). Thankfully the second attempt worked like a charm. Plus it meant we could document the entire thing for you, so you can just skip right to doing it the better way on the first try.

Here’s how it looked when you last saw it, after our initial hanging attempt:

We mentioned were going to rehang it in last week’s post, because almost immediately after hanging it with just two ceiling hooks, we realized that suspending it that way made the daybed swing front-to-back a bit more than we hoped, like an actual swing you’d find on a playground.

Continue reading How To Hang An Outdoor Daybed (On Video!) at Young House Love.

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A Tribute To Burger

We shared some sad news on Instagram Stories last week, but wanted to make sure to post something here too, because Burger was such a huge part of our blog. Last Monday, our sweet chihuahua Burger passed away at the age of 15. It was a long wonderful life, but we miss him so so much. The house is way too quiet without him.

We got him when we were 24 years old. Before we got married, before the blog, before we had kids, before almost every adult experience we had together. He was there through it all.

He was always such a happy boy. We are so grateful for all the years we shared. He seemed to pass away peacefully in his sleep. For a dog that was diagnosed with a severe heart murmur six years ago, we are grateful for all the extra years that he defied the odds after that.

Continue reading A Tribute To Burger at Young House Love.

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The importance of fitting new doors within your home

If you are looking to spice up the aesthetics of your interior space, then you may be forgiven for focusing on obvious avenues to pursue, such as a new wall color, furniture, artwork, or a cohesive theme that you can use throughout your house.

While all of these points are worthy of consideration, and can certainly transform the look of your home’s interior, you should not neglect the details which are often forgotten—but actually tie the whole space together. 

For example, anyone who has renovated their home will tell you how difficult it is to choose new doors for each room.

This is because they are such a foundational piece of the house—both aesthetically and practically. Your doors have to match the color and theme of each room, while looking cohesive and minimalist enough to stay standing for years (or even decades) to come. 

Furthermore, given how much you use doors on a daily basis, a dated or awkward one can become a regular annoyance, and even affect how you feel about your house as a whole.

This is what you need to know about fitting new doors in your interior space.

Avoid squeaky or ugly hinges

The most fundamental aspect you need to consider when fitting doors to your house is whether they function correctly. This might sound blindingly obvious, but it can be all too easy to become caught up with choosing particular colors, trying to match them with particular rooms, or searching for examples that come in on budget, that you can forget to buy quality items that will function for years to come. 

For example, there is nothing worse than a squeaky, warped, or stiff door. Some of your guests may not even be able to use them properly, and it can make living within your house on a daily basis an annoyance. 

Therefore, it is crucial that you source the constituent parts from a reliable supplier such as Tradefix Direct

They can keep a draft out

Doors have a far wider-reaching purpose than you might imagine. They are intrinsic in keeping each room at a certain temperature, for instance, which is particularly obvious if you live in a poorly insulated home. 

Not all doors are good at fulfilling this purpose, so it is key that you find examples which block drafts out effectively. To do this, they must sit close to the floor, without any noticeable gaps between the door and the frame. 

High-quality doors give your home a more upmarket feel

Another reason why doors are so intrinsic to your home interior is that they can make or break your perception of the wider space. If you have spent a lot of money on a new kitchen, for example, but the doors are cheap, dated, and don’t match the overall theme, then the rest of the room will be dragged down with them.

Contrast that with high-quality doors which feel good to touch, look in keeping with the rest of the space, and won’t date easily, and you will soon see the influence that doors have on interior design

They match the aesthetic of the wider space

Leading on from the previous point, the doors you choose need to match the aesthetics of the wider space. This sounds easy but is actually incredibly difficult to do, especially if you use bold colors in your interior space.

Like any utilitarian item, it is best to opt for an inoffensive color, such as a white, light gray, or black. 

Did you miss our previous article…

Bathroom Design: Fixed Shower Panels

Yesterday I shared on my Instagram stories some progress shots on our little two bedroom flip house and created the final to-do checklist before we can list it for sale.

For both bathroom remodels, I chose single pane glass shower panels. It’s a contemporary look, but one I prefer in small to mid size bathrooms with walk in showers. These tempered glass panels are available in a few different styles: framed, frameless, screen, and etched. Installation requires U brackets secured to the wall and shower floor with added silicone on both sides of the glass to stabilize the pane.

For my shower remodels I bought two of these frameless panels in satin brass, they were a lot less expensive than a local bid I got for shower doors. I’m so pleased with how light they feel compared to the alternative of framed sliding or a hinged shower door. (And less glass to clean!) The same panels are also available here with multiple bracket finishes available.

This “barely there” frameless style works for any walk in shower where there is additional space for entry and exit beyond the panel.

Below are a few examples where other designers have installed a similar fixed shower panel. Also find budget friendly sources for a similar style if you’re planning a shower remodel in the future. 🙂

melanie beynon

eva holbrook

adore magazine

the beach people

three birds renovation

Budget Friendly Shower Glass Panels:

curved top in satin brass

matte brass frame

matte black frame


matte black grid

fluted glass

framed fluted & clear

frameless panel (U bracket in chrome, bronze, black & brass)

arched top (multiple finishes)

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