Modern & Coastal Dining Room Inspiration.

I'm starting with our dining room because it's the smallest space and the one least likely to go through any significant iterations. I want this room, and our house in general, to feel modern and coastal, but also casual (read: kid-friendly), airy, with a little vintage thrown in the mix.

ridge house dining room

Chandelier | Mirror | Bowl | Tapers | Dining Table and Bench | Paint Color | Image | Tufted Chair

It's been overwhelming thinking of all the work that we still have to do on the house, even though we're all moved in. We have parts of the downstairs taped off and spackled, but have yet to paint, which means we can't really unpack or settle furniture. The dining room seems like the easiest place to start because: 1. there are no windows, so painting is easy and 2. we already have most of the essentials, including this modern farmhouse table in a mango wood, that I love, and a beautiful capiz chandelier that we just purchased.

I'm really excited to layer texture and dimension in this space by incorporating different finishes: warmth from the mango wood, a little shimmer from the capiz and contrast from the polished chrome pendant and cement tapers.

The dining area is recessed (I'll share pictures later), so I was looking for a way to incorporate mirrors without having to "ground" them with a buffet or sideboard (which we don't have room for). I have so many beautiful dark wood Pottery Barn frames that we received from our wedding that are just asking to be put to use in a gallery wall with some additional metal touches like this rose gold metal framed mirror and a few more polished nickel frames. The pink bowl in my inspiration board is totally out of my budget, but maybe I can find a lookalike at Target? Maybe it has something to do with being outnumbered by the boys in my house, but I'm all about pink these days.


Our Slow and Steady Pre-Move Progress.

We move in at the end of this week after what seems like the longest month of my life. No blood, but lots of sweat and tears were shed just working on these cosmetic updates. 


The upstairs has undergone a significant facelift. The only spaces we didn't touch were the bathrooms, as those are going to get gutted and renovated, hopefully within the next year.

  • We had recessed lighting installed in three of the bedrooms (one already had recessed lighting) and updated all of the bulbs to "daylight" LEDs. This has made a huge difference in how much brighter and airier the space feels.  Cost: $955, including the installation for 4 recessed lights downstairs.
  • We painted pretty much every surface upstairs with two coats, including all the trim, the doors, and the interiors of the closets. Cost: $1040 for all paint and supplies covering 2200+ square feet.
  • Two of the bedrooms had these weird hanging closet doors that we removed and plan to replace. We removed all the existing blinds because they were in desperate need of a cleaning. I might clean and reinstall some of them as a temporary solutions, but I plan on eventually ordering custom roman shades for each of the rooms.
  • We had new Stainmaster Pet Protect carpet installed. The carpet feels so soft and looks so pretty and warm with the subtle pattern. I'm so happy to have a beautiful and safe floor for the boys to run around on. The only thing I'm concerned about is that in some places, the carpet isn't flush against the baseboard. I don't think that is normal, so we are going to talk with Lowe's. Cost for 1200 square feet: $3700, with our 10% moving discount.
The boys' room in BM Sea Foam.

The boys' room in BM Sea Foam.

Baby Judah just soaking in some rays.

Baby Judah just soaking in some rays.

We're down to the last few details: touching up paint, replacing and reinstalling outlet and light covers, and caulking some spots in the wall that the carpet didn't cover.

Would I do anything differently?

In retrospect, I would hire a painter.  Painting really brought out the anal-retentiveness in me and took forever. I mean, we haven't even touched the downstairs, and we've had the keys for a month! However, David is convinced that they wouldn't meet my standards and we would have to repaint anyway. I might also have the paint strength cut in certain rooms. The Nelson Blue in the master is so beautiful and really the perfect shade of blue-gray but I might have experimented with having it cut down to 75% strength.

As far as flooring goes, I am super happy with our carpet choice. The color, feel and pattern are all beautiful, and I 100% believe that this is the safest option with two tiny boys. I know that I'll probably be spending extra time vacuuming (even with our no-shoes-upstairs policy), but I'm ok with that. 

We move in on Friday. Final countdown has begun!

Choosing Paint Colors (And a Peek Inside Our House).

Ah, paint. Nothing has given me more decision paralysis than choosing paint colors. 


I thought this would be the easy part, but I quickly fell into the rabbit hole of paint swatches from Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Valspar, and Behr. There are thousands of different shades of paint. Add to it that I'm idiosyncratically particular about what the shade is called as well. I still swoon over Ralph Lauren's Tibetan Jasmine – I'm convinced that this is the perfect shade of white for our forever home and also heartbroken that they no longer have their full collection of paint.

I honestly thought this cosmetic update would cost us maybe a couple hundred bucks for the entire house. Lots of research and a few hardware store visits later, this article convinced me to go with Benjamin Moore Regal Select paint, and I realized that the actual cost would run well over $600. (I think we're currently running closer to the $800-900 range). We got a quote from a painter that was $1800 to paint the entire house (in hindsight, I'm pretty such this would have been worth every penny), but since this was one of the projects we could actually DIY, we opted to go that route.

I wanted a light neutral for most of the house but one that still provided a bit of contrast to the trim. Since there's not always the best light in most of the house, I didn't want to go with a white for fear that our space would look too flat. This was the trickiest because even in the same open space, the paint can look so different depending upon how the light hits it. 

After painting many, many walls with sample colors, we ultimately decided on Classic Gray for the majority of the house. I love the way it photographs and how it's a barely there neutral. We tried a few different whites for the trim out of like a billion shades of white. White Dove didn't give us the pop and contrast that we wanted and White Opulence was a bit pink. I've read that Chantilly Lace is the closest shade to a true white, but I wanted something just a touch warmer, so we went with 2016 Color of the Year, Simply White, which has become my new go-to white. All the trim and doors are getting repainted in Simply White, along with our fireplace mantel and our custom breakfast nook bench.

BM Balboa Mist, BM Classic Gray; BM Dove Wing, BM Gray Owl; BM November Rain; BM White Dove and BM White Opulence.

BM Balboa Mist, BM Classic Gray; BM Dove Wing, BM Gray Owl; BM November Rain; BM White Dove and BM White Opulence.

We decided to go with Nelson Blue for our master bedroom. We bought a white linen-look bed, so I wanted a bit of contrast. I want the room to feel like a calm oasis and fell in love with Farrow and Ball's Parma Gray. Nelson Blue is the Benjamin Moore equivalent (I think), and is the perfect soft shade of blue-gray.

David painting the master with BM Nelson Blue.

David painting the master with BM Nelson Blue.

For the front bedroom, we ultimately went with Simply White as the wall color. That room gets the most light, so it will look great bouncing off of the white. Our dark wood campaign dresser is going in that bedroom, and I think the contrast will be fantastic.

BM Balboa Mist, BM Classic Gray; BM Dove Wing, BM Gray Owl; BM November Rain; BM White Dove and BM White Opulence, in a different room/light.

BM Balboa Mist, BM Classic Gray; BM Dove Wing, BM Gray Owl; BM November Rain; BM White Dove and BM White Opulence, in a different room/light.

I had initially really wanted to go with a peachy pink for the guest room because I've always wanted to paint a room pink, but we just didn't find any shades that we loved or agreed on. We ended up painting this room November Rain (highly recommended by Emily Henderson), and I think it is my new favorite paint color (although Dave's least favorite). It has a touch of green and feels like a really warm gray to me and looks almost like soft cashmere for your walls.

BM Boudoir, BM Coastal Cottage, BM Balboa Mist, BM November Rain, BM Gray Owl

BM Boudoir, BM Coastal Cottage, BM Balboa Mist, BM November Rain, BM Gray Owl

For the boys' room which is getting a California theme, we went with Sea Foam, pretty much because I liked the name. It reads as more of a light blue than the light blue-green I had intended for the space (this is the only shade we didn't test out), but I still think it's the perfect fun background color to layer on white and light-colored woods.

We're almost through painting the upstairs (finally). We get the new carpet installed on Tuesday, and I'll be able to share some significant progress pics.

Choosing Carpet for our New House.

Six months ago, I didn't think that we would be moving into a new house, moreover choosing new carpet. I hate carpet. Or, I thought I did because I've been accustomed to the cheap, scratchy, always-stained-no-matter-how-many-times-you-steam-clean apartment carpet.


We bought the house knowing that we would have to replace the existing carpet, which was heavily stained. The stairs and second floor were carpeted, while the first floor recently had engineered wood floors put in. Our initial thought was to put in hardwood floors, but putting it in throughout the house would be expensive and felt a little bit wasteful since the main floor flooring was still fairly new. Even though the current main floor flooring isn't the wood tone that I would choose, we'll probably make some significant changes to the floor plan downstairs, anyway, so we might as well save money and live with that flooring for a while.


Since going with hardwood floors on just the stairs and upstairs would still be almost as expensive as getting the entire house down, and the flooring wouldn't be cohesive, I started seriously considering our other option: replace with carpet.

I had recently read a post about Stainmaster carpet on the Chris Loves Julia blog, and that seemed like the ideal solution. I am not at all a fan of cheap apartment carpet, but a pretty, textured, low pile carpet with quality carpet padding seemed like the best option. With two boys (one toddler, one baby), carpeting on the stairs, especially, felt like the safest option to reduce the likelihood of accidental slippage. Since writing this, Noah has already toppled down three stairs while chasing our dog, so I'll take all the extra cushion I can get. I like the feel of carpet in bedrooms, and we'll still be able to layer in smaller accent rugs.

A free deluxe installation deal at Lowe's sealed the deal. With the purchase of carpet and padding, carpet removal, haul away, and installation was free. Done and done.

I already have an idea of what carpet I wanted: textured, low pile with a light, neutral color, and had bookmarked a few on the Lowe's website. My goal was to find some options that were soft underfoot and would be easy to clean. After heading into the store to see some swatches in person, I decided on three Stainmaster samples to order online ($15 which would be credited to our carpet installation): Secret Dream PetProtect Berber Carpet in Tortoise Shell and Medford Active Family Cut and Loop Carpet in Seed Pearl and Notable Neutral


Seed Pearl looked too bright, Notable Neutral was pretty, but looked like it would show dirt easily. Both of the Medford carpets felt a little rough, and Dave wasn't a fan. The Secret Dream in Tortoise Shell was by far my favorite. It has a subtle pattern, is a nice, light colored neutral, and feels soft despite being low to the ground.

Our carpet arrives and will be installed next week! In the meantime, we're still working on getting the upstairs and stairway painted and ready. More on that progress, what we've spent on materials, and our experience with getting new carpet installed in another post.

We're Moving!

I've honestly wondered whether this day would ever come, but we are now homeowners! I fully believe that what would take us years to accomplish on our own, God can make happen in a fraction of that time.

Our front door – soon to be painted Benjamin Moore Williamsburg Wythe Blue or Palladian Blue.

Our front door – soon to be painted Benjamin Moore Williamsburg Wythe Blue or Palladian Blue.

We're moving to one of our favorite neighborhoods in south (Orange) county, a community that is beautiful, family-friendly and still very accessible. Our new house is over twice the square footage of the apartment that we are currently living in but could definitely use some updating, which is exactly what we wanted. House projects galore! I'll be posting all about it here. 

Right now, we're in the process of doing some cosmetic updates: paint, flooring, maybe new light fixtures. And of course it is taking so much longer than I thought it would because we have a toddler and a newborn in the mix. We're planning to move in mid-March, and I couldn't be more excited!