our house update // a few things i’m loving

As I write this in a corner of my living room, my handyman and his crew are hard at work updating a few areas of our house. Eek! If you missed the action over on Instagram Stories, I shared that Andrew and I are making a few cosmetic changes to our much-loved home… nothing crazy, but fun nonetheless!

This is my first home renovation-esque project of any sort, and wow… I’m realizing how quickly it can transform into something way bigger than you ever anticipated! I just had to text my mom saying “Talk me out of replacing our bathroom mirrors. I don’t need to do that too, right?!” (And sure enough, she talked me right back out of it. Although they would look amazing.)

Since this home-sweet-home isn’t long-term (we anticipate only being here a few more years before we move for Andrew’s eventual fellowship) I’m holding myself back from getting too carried away. So instead of major statements or any sort of structural changes, we’re keeping things neutral, affordable and re-sellable.

Some of you may remember me introducing Kerry Spears, a dear friend and fabulous interior designer here in Gainesville, last fall! Initially, we had big plans for her to decorate Andrew’s study and our dining room. When COVID19 hit, however, and more and more time passed, we realized that financially, it wasn’t the smartest move for Andrew and me to outfit a home we would be in for such a short time. I am so excited to still share the original plans she made for the space, however, so stay tuned for those!

Luckily, in today’s day-and-age, I’m realizing it’s entirely possible to give your home a facelift on a budget. Today, I wanted to share a general vision for where we’re going with these tweaks, and few products I’m using to do so!


home updates


guest bathroom ideas, ikat wallpaper, gold scallop mirror, monogrammed shower curtain

1. Keller Light Blue Ogee Wallpaper (also available here and here) 2. gold and lucite towel ring (similar linked, purchased on sale for $15 at Ballard Designs a few months ago) 3. gold scallop edged mirror 4. gold 2-prong vanity light 5. gold toilet paper holder (under $25 for a set of two) 6. white vanity with sink 7. gold towel rod (just $24.50) 8. gold and lucite drawer pull (just $3.59) 9. scalloped light fixture (under $100) 10. monogrammed piquet shower curtain (similar under $100 here) 11. scalloped flush light (under $100) 11. caitlin wilson side board

In a nutshell, what we’re really doing is taking down the dated wallpaper in our primary bathroom, upstairs guest bathroom and downstairs powder bathroom. That one action alone is going to totally update the look of our house, I think!

I would love to do fun wallpaper throughout, but since we’re sticking to a modest budget, I’ve reserved it for the downstairs powder bath since it’s a small room most guests will actually see! I initially had my heart set on this Shumacher Chenonceau paper in Aquamarine, but couldn’t stomach $1000 for one small bathroom. Oh trust me, I tried to justify it every which way, but simply couldn’t bring myself to it. Probably for the best. :)

I don’t even know how it happened, but as luck would have it I somehow came across this pale blue ikat wallpaper that had amazing reviews and, wait for it, was on sale for $13 a roll! I feel like I’ve stumbled onto the best-kept secret of all time. It arrives tomorrow and all I can say is I’m still doing a happy dance that I was able to wallpaper our downstairs bath for $100!

Once the wallpaper is down and everything is painted, all that’s really left to do is switch out some fixtures (like lighting for our primary bathroom, towel bars, etc) and replace our downstairs bathroom vanity and mirror. (We found this one at our local Home Depot last weekend, and plan on adding these drawer pulls and this faucet!)

We do have an amazing sideboard that the Caitlin Wilson team is so generously sending, but other than that, no major pieces! I really do prefer purchasing high-impact pieces you’ll get years and years of use out of (like this monogrammed shower curtain that I’m considering) but given our shorter-term situation, that really isn’t wisest. And honestly, it’s been so fun scouting out deals to make this all work!

They say it has to get worse before it gets better, and our house is a total testament to that right now. Tomorrow, I’ll jump on Instagram Stories to show you an updated look at the progress we’re making, and am already itching to get to the reveal!

Before I sign off, I also wanted to extend the biggest thank you ever to those of you who have responded to my conversation on Instagram Stories about “SAD,” seasonal affective disorder. While I certainly don’t know if I “have it, have it,” I do know that the incessantly rainy, hot and humid weather these past few weeks has really put a damper on my overall being. (If you’ve noticed a lack of outdoor outfit posts, that would be why!)

I can’t tell you what it means to read messages saying I’m not alone… because even though it seems like such a trivial thing, it has been pretty hard to navigate. Anyway, your messages have already put a pep back in my step, and I can’t thank you enough for it! In no time at all I know I’ll be feeling back to normal, with lots of fun, fall outfits and inspiration for you.

Love from the Sunshine State,


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  1. Maria said:

    Kate – You always brighten my day because you are so upbeat all the time and your beautiful smile and personality always put me in a better mood. This funk (that’s what I call it) too shall pass! Don’t you worry! You just need a trip to Dallas to perk you up!!
    From a Fellowship Dallasite,
    Maria xo

    Published 9.17.20 · Reply
  2. Lena said:

    Hi Kate,
    Thanks for sharing. SAD isn’t easy. I never thought about SAD occuring in Florida to be honest. Its a problem for some of us here in Canada with our long, hard winters. In December, the sun rises around 8:00 am and sets around 4-ish. The lack of sunlight affects me. I take 2,000 IU of Vitamin D and use a blue light for 30 min/ day. Also indulge in carbs to boost serotonin. I’m sorry that you are struggling with SAD. Fall is coming….. Hope you feel more like yourself soon! 😃

    Published 9.17.20 · Reply
  3. Liz P. said:

    Lonestar, I hope this little tidbit gets a smile: my white embroidered cap arrived the other day and I let the pink tissue wrap fall to the floor when I opened the package. My cat instantly claimed the tissue for herself and has been sleeping on the pink tissue paper, crumpling it up, snuggling it, etc., and she looks so cute. She loves that paper and I love the cap, and reading about this great vocational program for women in Africa.

    Published 9.17.20 · Reply
  4. Anouk said:

    I’m about to start a major renovation project, so I really appreciate any deco inspiration! Thanks for sharing.


    Published 9.21.20 · Reply
  5. To renovate your home, Must visit the Home Depot Home Improvement store.

    Published 1.19.24 · Reply