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You’re reading this on Tuesday, but I’m writing this on Monday. It’s almost time for dinner – says Jack, anyway! – and every muscle in my body still aches (Scott’s too; we’ve been commiserating and smiling all at once), my painting trigger finger actually hurts (can you sprain your forearm from spray paint?), and my brain is exhausted but way, way too excited for sleep. Because, you guys? We spent the entire weekend at the One Tail Adoption Center! Since April, we’ve been making lists and buying this, buying that and coordinating with generous sponsors to fill this space and make it one really happy place. The happy place. This past weekend, we finally stopped planning behind computer screens and telephones and just did things. So many things.

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We unpacked boxes, we obsessed over art, we built shelving systems and painted doors and potted plants and cursed the wind, heat and rain for not playing nice. We cleaned floors and windows and whacked weeds and crossed things off our list and highlighted what’s left.

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We lured in a few friends with the promise of free beer and lunch, and we could not have gotten as much done as we did without them! (At one point, Scott and I thought we could design and execute the entire thing by ourselves, and then reality laughed in our faces.) I could literally cry just thinking about it, and I may have obnoxiously thanked them twenty-too-many times. Even still, biggest of thank yous to Marti for rocking the flat packed boxes, Angela for the green thumb, Kathryn for sanding All the Things, Mark for the dead-shrub-plucking and Adrienne for the expert art framing! Scott has been 100% in from the start, making and hatching plans, punching those plans in the face, and losing sleep right alongside me.

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We’re a few weeks out from the official opening, and we’ve somehow inserted ourselves a bit too deep into the weave of the Center (are you okay with that, Heather?). There’s still a lot to do, but we’re getting there. In the end, we want future pet parents to drive up to One Tail, see that happy place and think, I’m going to adopt my dog today.

You can learn all about the One Tail at a Time Adoption Center right here and watch the world’s sweetest video. Today is the last day of donations, and we’ve been thrilled to see the One Tail team surpass their goal not once, not twice, but three times.

PS: So much love to the Adoption Center sponsors shown in this post! Thank you to Dyson for sending us a V6 Absolute to keep pet hair GONE (game changer!), MegMade for the gorgeous dresser, Lulu & Georgia for the pet-friendly outdoor rug and Osborne & Little for the wallpaper. The outpouring of support to help us whip this place into shape has been nothing short of amazing.

  • Trisha - July 21, 2015 - 7:26 AM

    You guys are amazing! I work out right around the corner from OTAT (Fit Body Boot Camp on Webster) and have watched the work progress from the exterior. Of course, MegMade would help you out. They are so wonderful – I’ve been buying things from them for years – back when they sold on Craigslist. Great work and kudos to you and all of your friends.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 21, 2015 - 9:32 AM

      We love Meg! Her business has grown immensely over the years, and well deserved, too! She’s definitely inspiring.ReplyCancel

  • Mary G - July 21, 2015 - 8:04 AM

    I am still so obsessed with that wallpaper. It’s perfect! Loving the gold touches as well. You guys rock!

    Where did you get those large photos done of the dogs? I would love to frame a photo that size of my own rescue pup.ReplyCancel

  • Bonnie - July 21, 2015 - 8:19 AM

    i definitely teared up reading this! So inspiring–great job! Thinking about all the happy pups who will be adopted from OTAT puts a serious smile on my face!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - July 21, 2015 - 8:31 AM

    It looks just fabulous! I am so impressed.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - July 21, 2015 - 8:48 AM

    OMG, that dresser is absolute perfection! I have something similar and now I’m contemplating painting it . . . Just what I need, another project.

    You guys did a fantastic job!!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 21, 2015 - 9:34 AM

      MegMade will paint furniture for you if that’s an option! Definitely give them a call and they can explain the process!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - July 21, 2015 - 9:13 AM

    SO thrilling to see all of that epic progress!! I can’t wait to see the final space =)ReplyCancel

  • Marti @ProjectPalermo - July 21, 2015 - 9:19 AM

    I was happy to help – thanks for inviting me! Can’t wait to see the space with all of your finishing touches and all of the happy dogs.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 21, 2015 - 9:33 AM

      I cringe to think of how far behind we would be if you hadn’t unpacked and built pretty much everything. ROCK STAR.ReplyCancel

  • Fara - July 21, 2015 - 4:47 PM

    Love the dresser! If you guys need anymore of those outlet covers or faceplates, I have a box full that we no longer need. Would be happy to send them to you!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 21, 2015 - 5:01 PM

      Thanks, Fara! I THINK we’re all set, but I’ll definitely let you know if we find any that need replacing while we race to the finish line!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - July 22, 2015 - 8:48 AM

    this is SO GREAT!! it looks amazing and i can tell that you guys have put your heart and soul in to the whole thing. wonderful!!!

    and when we finally move back to chicago, i am for sure going to adopt our next dog from OTAT!!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 22, 2015 - 9:33 AM

      Jodi, you keep saying you’re moving back. When, when?!ReplyCancel

      • Jodi - July 22, 2015 - 5:27 PM

        when one of us gets a J O B!ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 23, 2015 - 11:28 AM

          Fingers crossed for you, Jodi!!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - July 22, 2015 - 9:54 AM

    Compared to the shelter I’ve worked with, this place is looking out-of-this-world gorgeous. I wish you guys could come and do this in every city! :) A happy environment definitely makes for more willing adopters! Can’t wait to see the rest!ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent - July 22, 2015 - 11:54 AM

    The framed photos of the pups?! TOO CUTE.

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

  • […] I’m being honest, we haven’t gotten as far as we would’ve liked on the garage – for good reason! – but it’s coming along. A couple weeks ago, we laid out the configuration, but it’s far […]ReplyCancel

  • Ruth - August 4, 2015 - 2:19 PM

    Kim! Where did you guys find that beautiful pineapple plant pot? It’s absolutely gorgeous! *Crossing my fingers that it wasn’t a yard sale find…*ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa - August 5, 2015 - 2:48 PM

    I LOVE that wallpaper and hope to use it in a future baby’s room!ReplyCancel



Early last summer, we rebuilt our exterior front staircase. This was after we poured new concrete and painted the front porch, but before we built our garden, gave the front door a color, stained the deck and built our porch swing. I list all these things for a couple reasons – for one, we often wonder who all these people are that say they slow down in the summer? Has this become a thing that people say, but no longer holds true? And two, we thought that by the time a few months had passed and we finished knocking out a bunch of our outdoor to-dos, the staircase would surely be ready for paint. Because they were built from pressure treated wood, it needed an adequate amount of time to dry, but summer quickly turned to fall (for half a second) which turned into winter (for like, six months), and before you know it, it’s been a whole year, and you’re still starting at your incomplete staircase.

Until now!


A quick note about pressure treated wood: Because it’s been treated with chemicals to prevent wood rot and damage from insects, it’s recommended that you allow the wood to dry for a month – minimum! – before completing your project with paint or stain. To see if the wood has dried for an adequate amount of time, sprinkle water on the surface. If it beads up, it’s not ready for paint. If the water soaks in, the wood is dry and ready to seal, paint or stain!

The unpainted staircase has been driving us nuts, especially since we’ve been spending so much time on curb appeal during the short lived summer months in Chicago. We knew that if we could just finish the stairs, the front of our home would look much more cohesive! This spring and early summer has been incredibly rainy, which, while great for our lawn and plants (yeah!) was making it difficult to complete the outdoor project.

In my mind, I love to finish a project from start to finish before moving on to the next (which is why the kitchen is eating away at me; an update on that is coming soon!), but with finicky weather and only a few sporadic hours to get the job done, I decided to chip away at the painting in smaller chunks.

Scott pressure washed the stairs one evening, I began painting the next. In between every step came rain, which would delay painting for a few more days. Finally, Scott was like, enough!, and we taped off the stairs, fence and walkway and used our trusty paint sprayer to Get It Done. Really, it saved me hours from cutting in, and we should’ve done so from the start! Every nook and funny angle is perfectly covered in clean white paint.

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We used the same paint as the rest of our porch, Valspar Aspire in Designer White (color matched from Clark+Kensington) with an exterior satin finish. With the railing complete, we followed up with the risers by hand:


For the stair treads, we continued with Sherwin Williams Deckscapes opaque stain in Gray Birch. It’s the same stain that we used on the rest of the porch floor, and we’ve been incredibly impressed with the durability. Our only regret is that we didn’t choose a slightly darker shade, as the Gray Birch is light enough to show off foot traffic. (But it does look pretty!)


I used an old paintbrush to apply it right onto the treads, which took me about thirty minutes from start to finish. The first coat quickly soaks into the wood (on the left), whereas the second coat gives a strong opaque finish (on the right):

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Finally, our front porch is really complete! (That is, until we move forward with our bigger dream of a tongue and groove ceiling and new siding, but, you know. Baby steps.)

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Can I take a moment and throw it back to where we started? The front of our house has gone through a huge transformation in the two summers that we’ve owned the home! This photo was taken right before we began demolition over July 4th weekend in 2013 (I mean, holy cats!):


And today, she’s all, hello, let’s hang out.

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Looking at these photos puts into perspective how far we’ve come and how long it really takes – especially when it’s so easy to forget that ourselves. Can you spot the differences in the two years? Trimmed trees! New pavement! A new door and added transom! An extra dog! A garden and repaired lattice and functioning lights and efficient windows and a spaceman!

  • Adrienne - July 15, 2015 - 8:09 AM

    WOW. It looks amazing. I wouldn’t change a thing except for maybe adding me taking a nap on that porch swing on a cool Friday night!ReplyCancel

  • eabee - July 15, 2015 - 8:35 AM

    What a difference! It must be so, so satisfying for you two. Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Darmofalski - July 15, 2015 - 8:51 AM

    The house looks amazing! It’s easy to forget how far you’ve come! Loving all the things you’ve done with the place.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - July 15, 2015 - 8:58 AM

    AWESOME! Man, isn’t it great to finish something and then look back at ALL the changes. Your house looks so warm and inviting compared to 2013 :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 15, 2015 - 11:13 AM

      2013 scares me, haha! I had forgotten how overgrown the trees were when we bought the house. You can see that they were literally scraping the porch!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - July 15, 2015 - 9:30 AM

    Looks great!!! I need to redo our front porch and steps but haven’t had time to do it yet. We’ve only been in the house for 8 years… yeah… I may just use the same color as you!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 15, 2015 - 11:12 AM

      Just a heads up that the Grya Birch does show footprints – if you’d like to hide that better, we recommend something a little darker! The white is perfection though, and the Valspar Aspire has held up through our Chicago winter like a champion!ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - July 15, 2015 - 10:26 AM

    Ahhhhmazing! The transformation is incredible.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - July 15, 2015 - 10:46 AM

    It looks great! I love the painted steps, the grey and white look fabulous!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 15, 2015 - 11:14 AM

      Thanks, Emily! It’s such a relaxing combination, we think.ReplyCancel

  • Alexis - July 15, 2015 - 11:54 AM

    Seriously inspiring! You must be the envy of the neighborhood these days.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 15, 2015 - 12:07 PM

      Oh, girl, I wish! We’re just trying to keep up with our neighbors’ beautiful homes!ReplyCancel

  • susan - July 15, 2015 - 12:06 PM

    so inviting! really nice job and your garden looks fabulous; it has really filled in.ReplyCancel

  • Monika - July 15, 2015 - 12:10 PM

    Holy cats indeed! “Pawsome” job you guys. This looks beyond amazing. :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather - July 15, 2015 - 2:52 PM

    Do you need a compressor or anything else with the paint sprayer? Love the ease, I’ve just never used one and would love to hear what else you use!
    Looks great!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 15, 2015 - 3:10 PM

      Nope, these are plug in and go! You will need an extension cord, however.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - July 15, 2015 - 7:14 PM

    Wow! It looks fantastic! It must be an amazing feeling knowing all your hard work has really paid off!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - July 16, 2015 - 11:54 AM

    Such a difference! Really love how much more the plants pop against the bright stairs. Congrats on doing so much! :)ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - July 21, 2015 - 9:18 AM

    The transformation is truly incredible…I love how thorough you guys are, and how you always get it done RIGHT! The war with my impatience is a tough battle, but seeing you two go about each project with long-lasting durability in mind is so inspiring. Oh, and can I just tell you AGAIN how fabulous your photography is? That side-by-side with the shoes peeking out at the top? Genius composition…Bravo!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 21, 2015 - 9:43 AM

      You’re so sweet, Carrie! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • This Week's Links - 702 Park Project - July 25, 2015 - 2:02 PM

    […] painted stairs make all the […]ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Welsch - July 29, 2015 - 6:11 PM

    The new paint really ties the whole house together! Your house looks so happy :)ReplyCancel


Our block held a huge multi-family yard sale a few weekends ago, and besides purging our little hearts out and having an all around blast with our neighbors (day drinking, pizza and sunshine? Yes, please!), we had the chance to meet familiar faces from around the ‘hood. Think: Oh, you’re the mom of the brindle Pittie! Or, Ah, we’ve seen you ride by on your bike! So you say you’re on the next street over?

Early in the day, we met Diana. She went home with a toolbox, a handful of our tool duplicates and our instant camera (only because this one joined the family). We came to learn that she’s a furniture builder enthusiast and photographer, and we were all, hi, let’s be friends! I asked if she had any photos of her furniture work, and she showed me this DIY bed for her pup, Woof:


Is this too much, or is it too much? I asked if she’d be interested in sharing her work with all of you (i.e., Can I brag about how amazing you are and how much I love Woof?), and she was happy to do so! Here’s her story:

The bed is made from ChudoPly birch plywood, mixed with 1/2″ and 3 1/2″ boards, wood glue, sponge foam pads, neutral color fabrics for the blankets, cotton stuffing for the pillows, and artificial moss from the craft store. I wanted to simulate a real human bed as much as possible, so I hand sewed the miniature blankets and pillows. (To keep them from moving around, I tucked and sewed the blankets under the foam pad.) The moss is unglued, giving me the freedom to rearrange it however I would want in the future. For the finish, I usually prefer a satin finish spray, or I’ll leave it raw for that natural unprocessed feel; for this bed, I have left it raw.


I love cuddling with my Woof at night, but I always felt bad making him get off my bed during the day (to keep hair to a minimum). I thought that he deserved to have a bed of his own, but I wanted something custom made to his size, while being comfortable and aesthetically pleasing with my overall house environment. I had this bed concept designed for a long time in my sketch book, but wondered how I would make this giant bed frame – then I realized I can just build a small version of the human bed for Woof!


I wanted a design that was functional, appealing, and interactive. All my furniture shows simple and elegant design with a natural color palette that’s easy on the eyes. I love combining the functionality of planters with furniture because it not only looks great, but it creates an interactive experience with functionality and nature.


Diana went on to say that the next bed will include drawers underneath for Woof’s various bandanas and toys. Smart! Of course you must know how badly I want to stuff Woof in my pocket and bring him home with me? Those perfect ears. And muzz. And little white toes! (And it just gets better – she has a cat named Meow.)

She has such a vision for clean lined beautiful furniture – this chair, I die – and she takes on commissions, too. You can email Diana here (eunfoto AT gmail DOT com) for more information, and you can check out her furniture and stunning photo work via Instagram.

Thank you for sharing, Diana!

  • Kim - July 9, 2015 - 8:42 AM

    I find this absolutely hilarious. Thanks for sharing! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 9, 2015 - 9:53 AM

      Right? It’s too much! Love it.ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent - July 9, 2015 - 9:06 AM

    That pup is too cute, and his little bed? Even cuter.

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

  • Rachel - July 9, 2015 - 9:28 AM

    Sooooo cute (both Woof and his bed)!!! The idea to add drawers underneath for dog accessories is a super good one, too!ReplyCancel

  • Shanna - July 9, 2015 - 11:33 PM

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME!??! Woof and Meow and personalized beds!?!???? I love this lady.ReplyCancel

  • Dezignable - July 14, 2015 - 10:27 AM

    Beautiful dog and adorable dog bed! The moss is a nice touch, and Woof looks especially pleased.ReplyCancel

  • mai - August 6, 2015 - 9:52 AM

    oh my goodness, this is the CUTEST thing.ReplyCancel