Archive for the ‘Yard/Garden’ Category

It’s almost been a year…..

June 19th, 2013

Bet you thought I was going to say since I’ve blogged right??

{Ha-Ha} It’s been close. But no, I was going to say it’s almost been a year since we moved over to Dovershire.

We haven’t tackled any big projects on the interior, but have done a few things outside.

One of my favorites so far is the front flower beds.

Here is what they looked like when we moved in last July.

And here’s how they look now!

Thanks to ALOT of help from my gardener, aka my mums, I’m very pleased with how the flower beds turned out! The hard part was digging up the old stuff, but the fun part was planning what should go where.  We ended up hunting around local greenhouses for stuff on sale and then transplanted a ton from my moms yard.  Now I get to just sit back and watch it all grow.

The backyard is another story…We’ve got big plans for it, but right now it’s a hot mess.  One big reason is because we decided to cut down some trees, dig up the asphalt driveway, and build us a big old garage!!  That’s right… I might have mentioned that we weren’t doing any BIG projects in the interior, but I never said anything about the exterior!!

Our good buddy and architect friend, Jay Chiaramonte, helped us draw up some plans and figure out the best way to tie the new 2 car garage into the back of our existing garage.

Here’s a sneak peak..

This is the interior sketch showing the existing garage on the right hand side and the new 2 car garage on the left.  Once we get the old garage stuff moved into the new garage, we then plan on finishing the old garage into a playroom/den/man-cave.  But that will be awhile down the road.

Here’s an elevation of what the Exterior will look like..

Again the section to the right of the door is the existing garage and the left side is all new.

Pretty exciting right?? {Would I have ever thought I would be excited about a garage, no probably not.  But the idea of getting into a dry car on a rainy day, or a warm car on a cold day does excite me!}

Things are moving along quite nicely and van is LOVING having diggers, dump trucks, and cement trucks in his driveway on a weekly basis!

Here are 2 of my favorite photos of him during the construction..

He is always very eager to watch the whole process and is ready to assist on a moment’s notice!

And finally, a quick shout out to our Contractor, Daniel Kaufmann for putting up working with us.  I reminded him just yesterday that when you do business with a “retired” interior designer and a guy that knows how to build stuff, your bound to get some micro managing.  {sorry dude!} For example, the other day when the cement guys were here pouring the floor, it didn’t appear to have any slope to it which I knew the plans had called for.  I quickly grabbed my set of blue prints and ran outside to tell that I thought they were doing it wrong!!  I believe I caught them quite off guard and luckily we were able to get it all sorted out.  But you see what Dan has to deal with! {ha-ha} Anyways, Dan is a great guy and we are very excited to be working with him and his crew.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram {tottyvb}, you’ve already seen progress shots.  If you’re not following me, you better start now cause who knows the next time I’ll be back with Progress Shots!! Just Kidding…

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New House, Yard/Garden

Blog Break

October 28th, 2012

So apparently I took a self imposed blog break.

Didn’t mean to, but time goes by so quickly these days.  Every night after we got the dude to bed I would think, I should blog about {insert project here}.  But then I would open my laptop and stare blankly at the screen.

Maybe I was overwhelmed at all the info I thought I needed to be sharing on house projects, or the reality that it is hard work being a full time mother, wife, employee, DIY’er and blogger.  And when trying to make it all happen simultaneously, sometimes something has to give.

But enough of that.. I’m back and ready to chat.  We’ve got a lot to catch up on…

Since we last talked some doors have been painted, our fence has been finished,  landscaping in the front yard  has commenced, a new mantle piece is on its way, there have been several trips to the pumpkin patch and plans for a new 2 car garage and kitchen have been drawn.  A pretty slow couple of months if you ask me! {ha-ha}

I’m going to recap it all the best I can..get ready!

Back in September I started testing out some high gloss paint colors on our front door.

Here is the boring before…

And during the testing process..

I think I freaked out the neighbors a bit because at least one asked if we were going to use the same color on our shutters.

I was going for a bright blue..obviously, but it just didn’t work.

So back to Lowes I went and this time came home with a more turquoise color..

Can you see the difference between the turquoise at the top and the blue at the bottom?  They kinda blend together in this photo.

I loved the new color so much I instantly went to the back door and  painted it without asking Mr. vB’s opinion. {why you might ask did I not paint the front door?  Well we will soon be getting a new front storm door and I didn’t want to waste my precious time painting something that was headed to the Restore.}

Viola..Totally the pop of color I was going for!

Unfortunately Mr. vB greatly, extremely, passionately dislikes the color.

My compromise was that we would paint the Front Door a more purpely-denim color and leave the back door this color.  Jury is still out.

On to the Fence!

Never thought I could be in love with a fence- but I am.

This is the gate on the right side of the house.

Rusty at Creative Custom Structures took such pride in making it absolutely perfect.  I would HIGHLY recommend him to anyone in or around Richmond looking to build a fence.

Here is the view from the driveway into the backyard.

Mr. vB had to create a temporary fence to keep B&B contained until the garage addition is built.  Once it is complete, Rusty will come back and finish the 4th side of the fence that will butt-up to the back side  of the garage.  Again we totally confused the neighbors with a 3 sided fence.  Lots of head scratching going on in this neighborhood.

NEXT… Landscaping!

One might say that our yard has very mature landscaping.  Not in the sense of our curb appeal screaming mature adults live here, but more in the sense of “hello, I’ve gotten to the end of my life cycle, please do something.”

Ever noticed the 2 HUMUNGOUS English Box-woods in the border by the front door?  Couldn’t miss ‘em if you tried.

And the holly bushes that were packed in like sardines..

Due to budget constraints we could only tackle the front yard to start, but what an immediate difference!

We hired a high school buddy of mine that owns a Landscaping Design Company called Natural Progression Landscaping to do the dirty work.

Hasta-la-vista bushes.. Here’s what the front yard looks like now.

Our Curb Appeal screams.. Cool Hip People (with a crazy half blue, half green front door) live here now.

Mantle Time!

We have an awesome fireplace in our living room but it does not have a mantle.

I mentioned to Mr. vB one day  that I really wanted to investigate getting a refurbished mantle from the local salvage store.

And then I left to go to the grocery store.  When I returned this had been built.

We are still working on adding trim pieces and the actual mantle part, but it should be done in time to hang Christmas stockings!

The Pumpkin Patch

vannyB loves him some pumpkin patch.  We talk about it often and have been several times.

Lastly, we have been brainstorming ideas for our new 2 car garage and kitchen renovation!!

I’m not going to give away too many details on these yet.  But hopefully the garage will break ground by the first of the year and then the kitchen in late 2013/early 2014.

Congrats- You are now fully up to date!

{And I am exhausted.}


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New House, Yard/Garden

My Green Thumb

May 23rd, 2011

So I was starting to feel like we lived in the “ugly house” on the block.

And not because of the house, but because of the yard.

Look at this thing- It was out of control!!

So with my trusty assistant in tow {see her hiding in the above photos- pink baseball cap?} we were going to get this yard straightened up!

First stop- the greenhouse! We needed some color to liven up that border.

Then it was time to dig, trim, and mulch!

CeCe might have gone a little crazy with the hedge clippers, but she promises it will grow back.

I’m loving the final product!

The “missing” hedge really opens up the porch, but no longer hides the fact that the railing needs to be repainted…

And of course the grass needs to be cut again, but just pretend like you didn’t notice that either!

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All Stacked Up.

September 22nd, 2010

So I think the Dragonfly on my front door was trying to tell me it was time for a change.

So I headed to the pumpkin patch after work yesterday and picked up these cuties…

and then I…


And stacked…

And stacked a little more…

I think the people at the Greenhouse thought I was crazy.  I must have stacked about 20 different pumpkins to get just the right look.

I think it turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself!!

And the best part is, I plan on using my Pumpkin Stack for not only Halloween, but also Thanksgiving, AND Christmas!!

Remember my post last December about a neighbor that painted her pumpkin stack green like a Christmas Tree?

YUP- that’s the plan!

Now I just want to find a little something to hang on the front door where the Dragonfly use to be.  Any suggestions?

{RIP Mr. Dragonfly. You were a good door ornament.  If I can’t find another one of you next spring, I might have to super glue your wing back into place and milk you for another season. xoxo Mrs. vB}

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Holiday Traditions, Mrs.vB, Yard/Garden

Summer-time is here!!

June 1st, 2010

Even though it’s not officially summer yet, I always feel like Memorial Day kicks it off.

And in honor of summer, my green dragonfly is back on the front storm door.

I also got a cute fern for the urn on the front porch. {yes it needs some water- sorry for the droopiness}

I think it makes a nice combo…

I then moved my $1.39 Home Goods Flower to the garage door.

Gotta have alittle flair in both the front and back!  Didn’t your momma teach you anything?!

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Let’s Grow…

April 27th, 2010

I find waking up early on a Saturday morning to play in the flowers and to cut the grass can be very therapeutic. But I’ve gotten into a bit of a winter slump.  With the warm weather arriving, it’s time to get my butt in gear to start doing yard work again.

Flower beds need to be weeded and mulched, the grass needs to be seeded and fertilized… and don’t forget our Lasagna Garden!  {for more details on the garden click here.}

I found this diagram of a Salad Garden and an Italian/Salsa Garden in a not so recent copy of Better Homes and Gardens.

I love the layout of the Salad garden with the trellis’ for the cucumbers and the different layers of the greens, onions, carrots, etc.

We attempted to plant a bunch of goodies last year, but I think we were too late in the season.  Nothing really took.  This year we are taking a different approach.  Trying to get a head start and get our little veggies growing strong prior to planting them.

I’ve seen tutorials on using these pellet starter kits to get your seeds growing.  I’m gonna give it a whirl this weekend and see how it works.  {Any pointers from readers with green thumbs are welcome!}

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My Daddio…

March 5th, 2010

What a week! Sorry I have been missing in action.. My daddio got quite sick earlier in the week and it threw us all for a loop.  He is doing much better, but is still in the hospital.

Daddio is an avid bootsandtotty reader so I thought this post might brighten his day.

{LOVE YOU DADDIO- Feel Better!!}

On that note, thought we could all use something to smile about…

Here is my new front door accessory until it is time to break out my dragon fly for summer!

It was a Home Goods Steal and Deal for $1.39!!!!

Happy Friday!

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Family, Yard/Garden

Growing like weeds..

November 25th, 2009


Wanted to show you guys the progress my paper-whites have been making. (Here’s what they looked like last week.)  I can barley keep Milo from eating/pulling the grass out of the dirt, so who knows if the grass will still be around by the time I actually have blooms, but oh well.


There hasn’t been too much sun here in Richmond the past couple of days, but they do appear to be making progress.


I am going to take a short break for the Turkey holidays, but will be back ready to rumble next week with NEW Steals and Deals, plus the December Shoe of the Month!  I am also hoping to have our xmas decorations in full swing, so I will keep you guys in the loop with what I am doing.

Gobble Gobble..

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Mrs.vB, Yard/Garden

Rooms and Blooms…

November 18th, 2009

Mr. vB and I had a very productive weekend, checking off several things that had been on my our check list.

First up was hanging the pelmet/cornice boxes in the guest room.  Remember this tutorial that I had gotten from Little Green Notebook?

Here is the boring window before..


Here is Mr. vB working his magic with the drill..


And here is the finished project…


What?? Did you think I was going to post the window with the pelmet box? ha-ha

I am really trying to hold out until the whole room is finished before I show everything, but okay twist my arm.

DSC_0333Isn’t it cute?

We also got 3 more replacement windows installed in the sitting room off our bedroom.  I didn’t take any photos during the actual install, because I was busy painting in the kitchen.  But here are some after shots.  There was such a nice breeze coming through all 3 windows, I asked Mr. vB if we could relocate our bed!


Finally- I also started on our xmas decorations.  Nothing fancy, but I always love to have Paper-whites around the house. {something I picked up from my mom}  I stopped by the local greenhouse and picked up a handful of paper-white bulbs and some cat grass.


Have you guys ever “forced” paper-whites before?  It is super easy- you just need a container, some dirt, H2o, and some sunshine!  Oh and yeah- the paper-white bulbs!  I added grass to mine as I think it gives it a great extra touch.  {Plus Milo loves to nibble on my flowers, so better for him to nibble on the grass than my paper-whites!}

DSC_0376Here I laid out the bulbs to make sure they would fit.  Then I dumped out some of the dirt, placed the bulbs where I wanted them, and then piled the dirt back on. Voila- Just that easy!


The above photo is what the bulbs looked like on Sunday.

Here is what they look like now after some sunshine!  The grass is sprouting and the bulbs are about to as well!


As they grow, the paper-whites will get very tall and have blooms like daffodils.  I’m envisioning them on the mantle, the dining room table, or maybe even the console table by the front door.  We shall see!

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Home Improvement, Mrs.vB, Yard/Garden

I need a little help..

July 19th, 2009

Mr.vB and I worked hard in the yard yesterday.  The garden is finished and we are anxiously awaiting to see if anything grows.  We also planted grass seed in the bed that use to run along the fence.  Hoepfully soon we will have new grass too!

Here is the finished product!



We divided the beds into different sections for the various veggies.  We planted lettuce, mesculin, cucumbers, basil, cilantro, and come spaghetti squash.  I also moved some flowers from the main back border to create a new little area between the garden and the grill.  The plants don’t seem to be taking the transplant too well, but I have been giving them plenty of water from the rain barrel.  Let’s hope they perk up soon!  OH- and you might also notice the little fences we put up.  Gotta keep Boots and Bailey out of the beds.  Mr. vB had the good idea to drill little holes directly into the wood to mount the wire fence.  That way we can easily remove the fencing when we need to get to our veggies!

But what I need help on is the other corner of our yard…I like to refer to it as no-man’s land.  Here are a few shots….



You can see this is where the gas, power and fios meters are.  It is also where the stairs go down to the basement.  I feel like the rest of the yard is somewhat manicured and this section is so BLAH.  I am trying to think of what I can do to jazz it up a bit.  My first thought was to take the large flower pot off the deck and put it right in-front of that basement window.  Then I can get some trellis and try to grow something to hide all the meters.  I was also contemplating painting the concrete.  What do you think?  Have you guys seen anything cool that you can recommend??

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