Until Next Time

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hello there! I know it has been a while since I have posted which means you probably already know where this post is headed; however, it feels only natural to post one final time.

Before I started this blog I had been thinking about starting one for a while, but it wasn't until someone I view as a mentor suggested to "just start" that I finally began this adventure with my very first post. I didn't have a well documented plan of what this blog would include, rather it became somewhat of a mix between my love for home decor, graphic design and DIY projects. I know that probably isn't the right way to go about a blog, but if I'm honest, a lot of it was me trying to find what it was that I really wanted to say.

As my very first blog comes to a close, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being a part of this adventure. It was fun to hear readers talk about how much they loved a certain project or room in our house. I genuinely hope that in some way you have been inspired - even if it's just to know that two people can build furniture - even in a condo!

More than likely, this isn't the end of Simple & Detailed, but this is the end of Simple & Detailed as you know it. I may be back with a different type of blog one day or perhaps I will open a paper goods and design studio. Whatever it is, it's time to move forward. To close this chapter and start the next. Although the specifics are unknown -- the reality is that sometimes you just have to get started. 


Until Next Time,
MaryJo



The Art of Handwritten Notes

Friday, March 28, 2014



I have always loved getting mail. It began when I was a little girl. I had the incredible opportunity to live in Brazil for five years. Fortunately for me, it was before the digital era of emails, Facebook, video chatting and such. Instead, family and friends would send exciting packages filled with all of the luxuries from the US -- peanut butter, Rolos, Snickers, and VHS tapes of TGIF (Full House, Family Matters and Step by Step). I would send out a personal newsletter to family friends and even had a stock letter that I would send out to church kids who would write me because I was a missionary kid. In Brazil, little girls would trade stationery in the same way that little boys in the US trade baseball cards. I would save my allowance to go to the papelaria to add to my collection. The sales clerk would pull out a shoe box filled with an assortment of pretty papers and I would carefully sort through to find the right ones.
 
Combined with my love for pretty papers is my passion for writing. I am not always the best at thinking on my feet, but I am known for the way I craft my words when I have pen and paper. When writing, there is no one to interfere with my thoughts or to interrupt me mid-stream. Writing allows me to feel in the purest sense, so you will find a very passionate and honest composition.
 
This year for my birthday my mom decided to give me a gift that was extremely thoughtful. She had watched me wistfully look at their massive pile of Christmas cards when I was home over the holidays. Since my dad is a pastor, they receive tons of cards from everyone at the church. My mom decided to make it her mission to have people send me cards for my birthday. She collaborated with my dad and husband to get in touch with friends and family to spread the word. In the two weeks surrounding my birthday, I received 50 cards in the mail wishing me a Happy Birthday. It was the best mail week ever!
 
Each card was special and fun in a different way, but there was one piece of mail that really stood out. The funniest part is that it wasn’t the prettiest and it wasn’t even a card. I received a 3-page letter (on notebook paper) from a man named Richard, a family friend that knew me when I was a little girl living in South Carolina. The letter talked about the memories he had of me as a little girl and the way we would always look at the moon. It also talked about his experience being a postman, going door to door delivering the mail to people. It was different back then. One sentence really captured it for me, “This is the first letter I have written since I don’t know when.” His letter really struck me. It was heartfelt. Unexpected. Honest. It reminded me of the days in Brazil when each letter told a story. You see, I haven’t seen him in over fifteen years, but this one letter brought me back to the place of being a little girl being held looking at the moon.
 
That’s the power of writing a letter. No email, Facebook message, or digital format will ever replace the art of a handwritten letter.

Floored

Saturday, December 14, 2013

If you read our last post, you saw our next project was going to be the built-in unit for our living room. That idea is still on the "to do" list, but has been bumped for now. Instead, we installed hardwood floors on the main floor of our home (kitchen, living/dining room and half bath). After 22 wood samples, and plenty of visits to Lumber Liquidators, Home Depot and Lowe's, we finally decided to purchase our hardwood flooring from Build Direct. As I searched many blogs for floor ideas, I found a couple that mentioned purchasing from Build Direct for a fraction of the cost. Just to give you an idea of pricing per square foot:

Home Depot and Lowe's: $4+
Lumber Liquidators: $3.30+
Build Direct: $2.50+ (you do have to pay shipping)

Although we have only had the floors for a month, we are very pleased with the color, quality of the wood, customer service and we feel it is very comparable to the other options. We chose the Handscraped Truffle Birch floor. 

As always, all of our projects are possible because of friends and family that help us out! Thanks to Eric and Jess and Justin's dad for all of their back-breaking support!


Next on the List

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First of all, thank you for all of the kind responses to our kitchen reveal - it’s always encouraging and exciting to know others enjoy the results as much as we do.

Now that we have finished the kitchen, the question we keep hearing is, “what’s next?”

Our next big project is making a built-in entertainment center in our living room, but it may be a month or two before we begin. Our living room has this one space that is perfect for adding a built-in. Plus, we really could use some storage space for DVDs, games, etc.  We are still working through the details of building the piece, but here are a few of our inspiration photos to give you an idea of what we’re thinking:

(Just for the record, the first built-in picture is my absolute favorite! Granted, ours would be much smaller and we don't have a recessed ceiling.)

source | Cindy Ray Interiors
source | Pinterest - can't find original source (if you know it, please let me know and I'll add it!)
 

Curb Appeal

Thursday, August 1, 2013

 

When we bought our house, we immediately tried to tackle various indoor projects. The only problem is that the landscaping in our front yard was pretty atrocious. In the fall, we finally started working outside. We removed almost all of the plants and started adding a stone border. We did leave five plants so the front wouldn't look completely empty (below). Be sure to note the blinds and the large glass window that needed to be replaced (we knew this when we bought the house).


Early this spring, we started planning out the front yard and the types of plants we wanted. First stop for plants: my grandma's yard. Mema has a beautiful yard could easily be seen in a magazine. She kindly split her striped monkey grass so we could have some. I also went plant shopping with my mom who also has a good eye for landscaping. Apparently it runs in the family!

 
Finally, we were ready to move forward with planting. We are very fortunate to have close friends that love working with landscaping and plants. Eric and Jess came over one Saturday and helped us transform the entire front yard. We removed the remaining plants and added lots of planting soil and mulch. The two of them definitely know what they're talking about when it comes to plants, which was really helpful!
 


A few months later and our front yard is thriving! Our plants have grown so much that we had to remove a few of them. I love driving up and seeing the front of our house! We definitely have come a long way from where we started. Besides the plants, we also replaced the glass and added interior shutters to the bay window.

The Kitchen: The Reveal

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

After several months of working each evening and weekend in the kitchen, we are so happy to post the reveal! We are thrilled with the result and we definitely spend a lot more time in the kitchen now that it's finished. Enjoy the photos!

One disclaimer: The one thing you will notice that is not updated is the laminate flooring. We do have a plan for the floors, but we weren't ready to move forward this summer. Hopefully this fall we will install hardwood floors on the entire main floor of our town house.  So for this reveal, you'll just have to use your imagination when it comes to the floor!

before:

after:


 

 
 
Questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to answer as best as I can.
 
Special thanks: Justin (aka the contractor/engineer/plumber/electrician/cabinet installer/architect/carpenter/dry wall repair specialist/painter/husband/design assistant), Father-in-Law (painter, second opinion, cabinet installer) and my dad (painter). So, what was my role? Designer, Cabinet Assembly Specialist, Interior Decorator, Organizer of moving everything back into the kitchen cabinets, Shopping Expert, Receipt Manager, Painter and General Support.
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