Today, Scott and I are celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary – and 10 years of being together. The best years of my life.

It’s always fun to look back one year – two years, five years, ten years – and remember where we were then: The start of our should we move? debate, living in our 675 sq ft condo, hopeful to expand our family with a puppy or sharing a six pack on the stoop of our college-day apartments. What’s even more exciting is looking forward, discussing our ideas of what’s to come, where we’ll travel next and wondering, what will our every day look like in the coming year? In twenty years? When we’re old and gray?

Living under construction the last couple of months has been more challenging than any amount of daydreaming could’ve realized (mentally, physically, the good, the bad and every in-between), and as a gift to each other, we’ll be unplugging for one week. Pausing, recharging. Spending time together, allowing ourselves to breathe and rest and – maybe most of all – just be present. (I can’t say, think or type those words without thanking our friend, Jess.)

The contractors are thisclose to tying up every loose end, and once their last tool is loaded back into their big white van, we’ll be in the best place possible (so to speak) to hit the ground running. In the meantime, if you’ve been fighting the urge to take a little time for yourself, we encourage you to seize the day (a day of rest!) for yourselves, and we’ll be back soon – as they say, with bells on! This house has no idea what’s coming.

PS… Both the Print + Pet Shops will be open and accepting orders as usual, but please allow an extra 3-5 business days for orders to ship. If you’ve missed the boat on custom pet portraiture this holiday season, we still have 2014 Pre-Orders and Gift Certificates available! Visit the Shop to see which one is right for you.

PPS… Our wedding photos.

  • Molly K - November 8, 2013 - 6:16 AM

    Wow! Congratulations! My husband and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and we will have been together 10 years as of December 1st. What an adventure, right?

    Loving the renovations! If you two can make it through that you’ll make it through anything! Haha.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - November 8, 2013 - 7:17 AM

    Happy happy Anniversary! Hope you get some nice time to rest and recharge. Looking forward to hearing more when you are back :-)ReplyCancel

  • Hannah K. - November 8, 2013 - 7:29 AM

    A well deserved rest! Enjoy it, you too! Can’t wait to see the completed construction!!ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - November 8, 2013 - 7:56 AM

    Congrats, Kim and Scott! Enjoy your break!ReplyCancel

  • misie - November 8, 2013 - 8:37 AM

    happiest of anniversaries guys! whoop whoop!ReplyCancel

  • Laura at - November 8, 2013 - 10:43 AM

    What a wonderful gift to yourselves! Happy anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - November 8, 2013 - 2:01 PM

    Happy Anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - November 8, 2013 - 3:22 PM

    Happy anniversary! Enjoy your time off!ReplyCancel

  • katharina - November 9, 2013 - 6:33 AM

    Congrats to you! Enjoy your digital detox!
    some private time is such an important thing while beeing stuck in a renovation!
    you deserve it!

    from Vienna with love,

    • Kim - November 9, 2013 - 9:44 AM

      You all are so very sweet! Thank you for the well wishes. We can’t wait to get back at this!ReplyCancel

  • Cait - November 11, 2013 - 8:47 AM

    Congrats on five years! We just had our five years in October. We’ve also been doing a bit of digital detox lately, and it’s been nice!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - November 11, 2013 - 9:00 AM

    happy, happy anniversary!!ReplyCancel

  • Helen - November 13, 2013 - 1:10 AM

    Congrats to the best blogging couple ever. You still look the same from the wedding photos! Enjoy your highly deserved time off!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 14, 2013 - 8:49 PM

    You’ve made our week :) Thank you, everyone!ReplyCancel


Last week, we didn’t have an update on the contractors progress – rather, we busied ourselves with projects that gave some instant gratification – but between then and now, a lot has changed. There were a handful of days where all work came to a grinding halt due to a prior job on their plates taking precedence (it was unexpected on our end, and I’ll admit that our hearts dropped knowing it was going to be that many more days tacked onto our completion date), and the drywall patching has taken a bit longer than even our head contractor, Mike, could have predicted.

But – did you catch that? Drywall!

Rooms and dividers and half-walls have all been patched back into place. Closets have back walls, arches have clean, smooth edges and – despite the horrid mess of tumbleweeds, mud and plastic sheeting all over our floors – we’re in the home stretch! Here’s where we last left off:

And now… ceilings! All is right again. After tearing them down to hoist the second floor back up, we finally (finally!) have a clean, smooth sheet of drywall over our heads – for the first time since July. While we visually lost a few inches in height, our main area feels larger, lighter and brighter than ever. There are no words to describe the happiness this brought into our home; not a one. Upon seeing it for the first time (once Scott came home from work and I walked downstairs), we were, literally, speechless.

The nook room opening has been smoothed out, and as we mentioned before, the new, larger doorway has allowed a whole new light source to shine into the living room. We’ve been discussing our plans for this room – we go back and forth constantly – but right now, we’re leaning towards the Music Room (in addition to the Kitty-Sun-Soaking-Room, naturally). Imagine this: built in record storage, a slide out drawer for our turntable and an ooshy, cushy chair under the window. Ooh, and definitely a rug that’ll feel like slippers.

So, about that arch. Remember, we had our doubts? (Despite our whole point of giving a nod towards the original architecture, we were still scared!) We’d walk back and forth, between the foyer and the living room. We’d literally tap our index finger on our chin – you know, very quizzical like – and go, hmmm. After it was roughly shaped in, we decided to stick with our initial instincts and run with it, and now? We can’t imagine not having it here.

Up the stairs, our knee wall supports have been hidden away by sheets of drywall, but not so high that it obstructs the view (and light!) from our hall window.

Looking towards the knee wall from the studio, you’ll see our soon-to-be storage room on the left (for paints, shipping supplies and – get this – a whole table to wrap packages on), and on the right, the second floor landing. Because we ripped up the carpet (well, there and up the entire stairway), we’ll eventually need to patch in the floor to match the rest of the hardwood. This area has seen quite a bit of action since move in day, don’t you think?

Now that all the drywall has been set in place, mudded and prepped for sanding, I’ve been sequestered to the front half of the studio. Because the majority of my time is spent painting your pets, we couldn’t risk having that fine dust settle into my work area, so after discussing options with Mike, we thought, well, hell! Let’s just Bubble Girl me. So far, so good. (I am used to small spaces, after all!)

And last but not least, the laundry room! With the drywall in place and all our hook-ups ready to go, it’s looking like we’ll be shopping for a washer and dryer sooner rather than later – although in reality, it’ll likely be a gently used set until we can save up for something shiny and new. But – laundry! A whole room!

Mike and his crew will start sanding this week, and after how far we’ve come – we’re nervous. The renovation dust has been unlike anything we’ve seen thus far, but from hearsay, we know this’ll take the cake. (I mean, right?) We’ve been waiting so impatiently for this day to come, and now that it’s here, we don’t know what to expect.

We’re excited. We’re anxious.

But most importantly, we’re counting down the days until we can walk – for the first time, ever – in our home without shoes.

  • Helen - November 6, 2013 - 7:46 AM

    So much progress, and I’m so glad you kept the arch! I’d advise you guys (including animals) to be out of the house as much as possible during the sanding. When we drywalled our first house (ourselves – never again) we both sounded like we had consumption for weeks afterward. I would also just ask them to wet mop the job sight every single night until they are done. Drywall dust can make for some itchy paws!
    ps – don’t forget to change your furnace filter as soon as they are done!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 6, 2013 - 7:56 AM

    Helen, great advice! You better believe we’ll be all over that furnace filter. The only sad news is that we can’t be out of the house during the sanding… so perhaps it would be best to ask them to mop. (Will they even do that?!)ReplyCancel

  • Lucy - November 6, 2013 - 8:08 AM

    So very exciting to see the progress on your new home. It’s coming together so nicely. Can’t wait to see the finished product.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah K. - November 6, 2013 - 8:20 AM

    WOW – those before and “afters” – crazy progress! I cannot even imagine how excited you guys are to start talking PAINT!ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - November 6, 2013 - 8:20 AM

    Oh my goodness, this is so exciting!! That arch is such a winner. Home stretch!!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura at - November 6, 2013 - 8:56 AM

    What a difference! Does all that new drywall make you excited to start painting soon?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 6, 2013 - 9:03 AM

    Thanks, guys! Laura – ABSOLUTELY! We see a lot (a lot a lot) of painting in our future. We can’t forget about all the paint the basement still needs, too…ReplyCancel

  • Kati from so happy home - November 6, 2013 - 9:38 AM

    I’m with Helen – go to brunch, or take a long walk while they’re doing the sanding. Unless they have the special dust-free (or low-dust) tools (which are very expensive, and most contractors don’t bother) you’ll want to be well away from it. It’s not good for you, and it’s worth the extra delay in whatever you’re supposed to be doing.

    Just look at what our drywall guy looked like after he was done:

    I’m so happy for you guys, though, that you can begin to see how the spaces will change now that you have walls and ceilings. It’s a remarkable difference.

    Congratulations on making it this far! Woo hoo!ReplyCancel

  • Gloria @ The Faceted - November 6, 2013 - 9:45 AM

    Ah! Getting so excited for you guys! It looks amazing and I can practically see it decorated already! I would like to fast forward time for my greedy eyes to see what you have in store for it because I love not creepy…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 6, 2013 - 1:02 PM

      Haha, Gloria, not creepy – we wouldn’t mind fast forwarding a bit sometimes also!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - November 6, 2013 - 9:49 AM

    That is one gorgeous arch. Makes me want to spend some serious time debating how to do that with the doorway from our entryway to living room, even though a duct resides right above it. It can’t be that hard to move, right?ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - November 6, 2013 - 10:25 AM

    SO EXCITING!!!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole S. - November 6, 2013 - 10:40 AM

    I’ll make a plug for Abt’s 0% interested financing – it’s the only way I outfitted my Logan Square foreclosure with a house full of appliances when we bought! It was a life-saver! And we went for Maytag front loaders, and I love them. Just some neighborly advice. Love following along.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 6, 2013 - 12:17 PM

      Kati, yikes! Hmmm, to be honest, we don’t really have anywhere to go, since I do paint here – especially not for 3 or 4 straight days! We’ll have to talk to Mike and crew and see what he suggests. So far, the safety of my bubble has been good though!

      Carolyn, we actually have a duct in the foyer, right above the arch! Our contractors were able to take the middle of the arch all the way up to the bottom of the duct. You can do it!

      Nicole, our neighbor suggested the same thing! We may have to look into that. Thanks for the suggestion!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ 702 Park Project - November 6, 2013 - 1:15 PM

    I’m in love with those archways! So much character! :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - November 6, 2013 - 4:07 PM

    Wow, I’d say that’s a lot of progress, it looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - November 6, 2013 - 5:24 PM

    Ahh I’m so excited for you guys! You must be thrilled!!! Can’t wait to see everything all cleaned up and painted someday :)

    Also, not sure what the craigslist appliance market is like in Chicago, but that’s where I got our washer and dryer… and although I was going for something uber cheap, on our local CL I always see TONS of nicer ones (front loaders, etc.) for much less than new appliances. Definitely made me think that even when I can afford it, there’s no way I’ll go brand new on those particular items! So I hope you have equally good luck :) Oh man, having in-unit laundry is THE BEST.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 7, 2013 - 7:11 AM

    Rachel, good point. I suppose we shouldn’t count out CL for even a nicer washer and dryer! We couldn’t be more excited to have a WHOLE room for laundry, storage, ironing boards, baskets… wow, who knew I’d ever say that?ReplyCancel

  • Julia @ Cuckoo4Design - November 7, 2013 - 8:10 AM

    Drywall makes it all better. Looks amazing! But yes the dust will be like nothing you have seen before. It’s pretty awful ;) Hang in there!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - November 7, 2013 - 12:42 PM

    So excited for you guys! And dying to see what you do with your place once all the construction dust clears. :-)ReplyCancel

  • someone has a ceiling! | - January 23, 2014 - 10:19 PM

    […] the drywall went up here […]ReplyCancel


Before we moved into this house, Scott and I had a very serious talk – the good kind of talk that makes us all giddy and raise our voices over each other; the louder the better. The topic? What new tools will we need? Because if anything makes Scott excited over a project, it’s power tools (but hey, me too!).

It wasn’t until after we moved in that our rose-colored-glasses came off and we realized, whoa, we have our work cut out for us. Yes, we could see the poor paint job at our inspection, and sure, we could smell the second floor from a block away (thank goodness that’s behind us now!) – but the excitement of all the home’s potential had us pushing those pesky, unwanted thoughts aside. And now, four months in, we’ve had so many ups and downs, it’d be impossible to recount them all. (Should we try? A lacking furnace, the city zoning battle, the unlevel floors, sagging ceiling and – oh yeah – we’ll be knocking back a pretty, shiny penny to resolve cracks in the foundation. But we can’t forget about the insane daylight, the large studio and our future laundry room!)

All that aside, we knew we’d eventually get to the point where we’d be able to take out the paint. We’d finally reach the top of that mountain (I mean, we’re still working our way up, up, up… but still), and we’d see the view from the top and we’d know: It’s only getting better from here. And over the weekend, we did just that. (You know, stood at the top of the mountain.) Because with the help of Ace Hardware, we were given a new tool that topped our list from those early summer discussions, and whoa. Lives have been changed. Enter the Wagner Power Painter Plus:

Never having used a paint sprayer before, we were both excited and – full disclosure – a little nervous. We shopped around for a few different models before deciding on the Painter Plus, but even still, our biggest fears were ease of use, over spray and – in our case – would this electric spray gun really do the job? (No lugging around air compressors with this guy!)

For our virgin run, we set up a floor-to-ceiling sheet of plastic in the garden unit and brought in a rotating crew of every bedroom, bathroom and closet door in that apartment. (We’re hopeful for a December 1st rental date, so the pressure is on.) After reading the straightforward instructions, we just went for it! In under 2 hours, we gave new life to six formerly beige, sticky doors – and that’s including the time it took us to read through every, single page in the manual. (Because remember? We were scared. And for nothing!)

By mid-project, Scott and I were fighting over whose turn it was (mine! It was mine!). As for those silly fears, the over spray was a non-issue since we had taken the time to prep our space, and yes, this electric gun really does the job.

Minds? Blown. Only one coat was needed for every door to have a flawless finish, and we’re thinking our next run (because we have, oh, about 10 more doors to go!) will take even less time now that we’ve gotten our manual reading out of the way.

The best part of our new found love is that we get to hand one off to you! Together with Ace, we’ll be giving away a Wagner Power Painter Plus* ($100+ value) to one lucky reader. Using the Rafflecopter widget below, enter as many ways as you’d like. Giveaway runs through Friday, November 8th at 5pm CST, and the winner will be announced within this post. Good luck and happy entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


We’ve partnered with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel. Ace has provided us with the Wagner Power Painter Plus to complete our project (hey, thanks, Ace!), and all opinions are our own. How we DIYed before this tool, we’ll never know.

*Find the right Wagner painter for you at your neighborhood Ace Hardware!


  • Lindsey d. - November 5, 2013 - 8:30 AM

    Oh man, I need this! Fiance and I are picking out colors to repaint his entire house. The only time it’s been painted was when it was built 12 years ago, so it’s definitely time. I really dislike the creamy/beige trim and doors, but with at least 16 doors in the house, that’s a lot of doors to paint! Not to mention that I have some furniture I want to refresh!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - November 5, 2013 - 8:58 AM

    I need this, well I needed it this past summer! We recently bought a condo in Roscoe Village, and all the doors needed to be painted so I painted all of them by hand (with a brush and roller) over 2 months. I showed my husband your instagram video of Scott painting the doors with the paint sprayer, and he just shook his and said “we’re idiots”.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 5, 2013 - 9:05 AM

    Lindsey, good luck! This would also be great with furniture – we can’t wait to give it a try ourselves.

    Amber, nah, we didn’t know better until we gave this a go ourselves! I’m sure you could find another use for it now that your doors are done…ReplyCancel

  • Laura at - November 5, 2013 - 9:21 AM

    Great giveaway! We so need this for our doors and trim.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 5, 2013 - 10:36 AM

    Laura, YES. Yes, you do.ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - November 5, 2013 - 11:53 AM

    We have a ton of doors and trim this would be great for. Is it open to non USA residents? (I’m in Canada) Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 5, 2013 - 12:53 PM

    Hi Brooke, International shipping is A-okay!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - November 5, 2013 - 1:40 PM

    Fingers crossed I win this! I’ve got two porches and many, many feet of fence to paint in the spring!ReplyCancel

  • ryan - November 5, 2013 - 2:00 PM

    I love this but I’m a little afraid that if we had it my husband would try to repaint the whole house :)ReplyCancel

  • Kiira - November 5, 2013 - 3:04 PM

    told you life would never be the same! I can’t carry things into the basement fast enough.ReplyCancel

  • Henry Drake - November 5, 2013 - 6:54 PM

    I Need this! Would be really helpfulReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 6, 2013 - 7:23 AM

    Good luck, guys!

    Kiira, it really never will. We’ve been changed. Ha!ReplyCancel

  • shades of white | bona fide clyde - June 25, 2014 - 4:03 PM

    […] Clark + Kensington line from Ace. Our plan (after painting prep, duh) is to buy a paint sprayer (this one?) and tackle the trim and doors. We can take the panels off of the baseboard heaters to get the […]ReplyCancel