Before & After: Stairway

When we bought our home it was bare. Completely bare. No window treatments; even the curtain rods were missing,  and no towel racks or toilet paper holders. In fact the first night we stayed here I had to change in the stairway as to not scare the neighbors.

What else was missing? The stairway had no handrail. It made moving furniture upstairs really easy, but the stairway always looked a bit naked. To add to its nudity there was no runner-up the stairs. I love how wood stairs look, but in a house that was built-in 1950 a naked stairway is a noisy stairway. Guests, not to mention my sleepy husband, could easily be woken by this girls love of the early morning quiet.


So, when we learned of Oliver’s upcoming arrival we made the list of to-dos and the stairway was on it. First, we needed a handrail to create a safer passage way with a wobbly newborn and second we needed to sound proof it the best we could to make it easier on our babe’s ears when he is sleeping upstairs or down.

We looked into our options for months and didn’t really like what we were finding. In the end it came down to paying someone to install a runner, which was expensive or purchasing carpet stair treads from The Home Depot which we didn’t like the look of.

So, we created our own solution. We found runners we liked at Target and purchased 4 of them, to fit the length of our stairway and padding from The Home Depot. Using a nail gun, we placed the padding the runner and went to town. The end result is exactly what we wanted, the look of a custom piece with the price of 4 runners on clearance from Target and some padding, not to mention a little sweat from M.

stairs after

I think Oliver likes it too- at least we think so as he hasn’t complained about the creaky stairway!


Our Fine Life

Our little life has changed in a big way. On May 19 we welcomed our son, Oliver into our world and our family. To say it’s been a joy every moment would be a lie, but to say that I would go backwards would be too. He is amazing and keeps us smiling with his countless faces, coos, and diaper changes. M and I often find ourselves staring at him in awe and sometimes with spit-up and pee all over my shirt. I always thought that was an exaggeration by new parents, sadly- especially when you have a little boy- it is true and at times can not be avoided.

Welcome Ollie

On that note, Our Fine House is that much fuller now. Granted house projects, baking and cooking have taken a back seat for the last two weeks, but we are excited about the new life we have ahead. Since I haven’t been blogging much the last year or so, we have a lot of updating to share. We’ve renovated our upstairs bathroom, had a lot of fun creating Oliver’s room, and revamping our living room, and not to mention I still haven’t shared the “after” photos of our kitchen remodel from 2011- what?

That being said, with Oliver’s arrival comes a new beginning and I’m looking forward to sharing that here with whoever will listen.

Challah Bread

This weekend I made Challah bread.
Challah reminds me a lot of Italian sweet bread, a bread that Italians (at least in my family) have at Easter time. It can have raisins or other dried fruit in it. It’s wonderful freshly cut, or toasted. My mother makes two loaves, one with raisins and another plain.
Back to the Challah.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter, if you’re not allergic, is pretty amazing and I love how versatile it is. It can be decadent or  wholesome; chunky or smooth; a snack or a meal. Not to mention it’s inexpensive, something you can even make yourself, and pairs well with chocolate, banana, fruit…the list goes on.

I’m looking for an everyday peanut butter cookie. One that’s wholesomely decadent. One that doesn’t call for white flour and lots of butter, white sugar and brown sugar.

wait, there’s more!

Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

Make. This. Cake. Now.

No seriously, go make this cake. I promise you won’t regret it. No matter what kind of day you have, you will have this cake to come home to and that is special.

As soon as I spotted this recipe I knew I had to make this cake and Valentine’s Day was the perfect excuse to create this hot magenta frosting.  This cake is moist (ahhhh I hate that word), delicious and so flavorful. It’s so much more than chocolate cake. If you love beets or hate beets, you can’t taste them in this cake.

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Three Flour Bread

Generally, if I don’t make bread then I don’t eat bread. I haven’t made bread since late-December. That must be some kind of record. I love bread. I was raised in a carb-loving, yeast-craving family. Breakfast doesn’t feel complete without some type of flour-based treat. Nothing eases me more than a lightly toasted piece of buttered homemade bread with a cup of tea. That was my RX when I first landed in Ireland- experiencing the meaning of homesick for the first time in my 19-year old life.

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Pinterest Favorite: Hearts

I’ve been searching for something to brighten our entryway that speaks to how happy our home makes us and how welcome we want every visitor to feel. The typical “happy home” signs weren’t doing it for me. So thanks to Joe & Cheryl who pinned this, I was able to somewhat recreate it. Of course mine is not nearly as good, but I am not an artist and my painting abilities do not go farther than the canvases of OFH’s walls. You can also see that I used a darker canvas (canvas background is painted blue, then a rough white before the colorful hearts).

wait, there’s more!