Spring has Sprung!

That's right, spring has finally arrived in Central NJ, and I have been hard at work trying to bring some life to my formerly dull and uninspired front garden. 

Here's what we started out with when we bought the house:

We quickly eliminated the fence, but aside from some pruning, we didn't do much to the existing garden until this year.  Here is what the front yard looked like before we started:
It wasn't too bad.  Except that the boxwoods were way too big, and not centered.  And there was a weird strip of garden, with another strip of grass right next to the path that Matt always complains about when mowing the lawn.  And the strip was crowded with lillies, hosta and roses, while there was nothing in the other beds besides the large boxwoods. 

Anyway, it was time for a change.  Matt helped me rip out the boxwoods.  I then re-edged the bed on the far side of the stairs, and I updated it from a rectangle to a curvy shape.  Then I spent 7 hours edging the front strip and digging up the sod between the bed and the front path.  That is hard work!  

I decided to split the hostas instead of buying new ones.  Actually, none of the hostas are in their original locations.  You can tell where the original bed was by the line of lillies, but I moved and split all of the hostas, removed the roses (I tried to relocate them, but they died), and added oak leaf hydrangea, silver mound, salvia and dianthus.  Oh, and they're all perennials, so I don't have to worry about doing a ton of work every year!  I also planted herbs in containers on my front porch.  Easy access and they look and smell so pretty!

After 3 weekends of work, I'm so happy with the finished product!  Other front yard projects we're planning for this summer include painting the shutters and doing something with the front steps (not sure what yet).  Hopefully by fall we'll have more curb appeal!


Powder Room Ideas

Like everything in our house, our downstairs powder room is pretty beat up.  When we bought the house the powder room had a lovely fleur de lis motif, with a wall of 12"x12" stick-on mirrors.  In my initial fit of destruction, I removed the mirrors and fleur de lis fixtures, leaving it looking even more damaged than originally. 
The bathroom during our final walk through.  Please excuse the gross toilet - Matt took the photo and didn't think to close the lid first!

I don't know if you can tell in the above photo, but the back of the toilet stuck out about 4" from the wall before we removed it.  After we took it out I measured the rough in and saw that it was 14", instead of the typical 12".  So we ordered a 14" rough in toilet so it should sit closer to the wall, and not make you feel like you're sitting in the middle of a room. 

We will also be getting a new sink, because I "accidentally" chipped the vanity top when I was trying to pry it off.  Luckily we were able to save the melamine from the vanity base, and are re-using it as shelving.  We ended up getting a square top pedestal sink.

Here is my inspiration for our new and improved powder room

source: http://www.houzz.com/
I love the grasscloth wallpaper with the beadboard around the bottom.  I think it makes the room look bright and sophisticated.  The brighness is especially important in our case because we don't have a window in that room.  

Right now we have the wallpaper and floor installed, and I've been working on the beadboard and trim.  It's frustrating because none of the walls are even, but caulk is my friend and I'm pushing through.  I'm really hoping to have this done in the next couple of weeks.