Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloweenie Roast 2009 photos

Happy Halloween!

We hope you and yours are having a terrific holiday weekend!
Did you dress up this year?
If you did, and you'd like to share your pics, email us at We'd love to see your costumes!

We haven't dressed up in a few years, but we had so much fun putting our outfits together this year. Here we are in our pirate get-ups:

I think we snarled "Argh!" and "Ahoy, Matey!" a million times throughout the night. (Aw, heck, I'll be honest- we've been snarling ever since we bought the things!)
You'll notice I wasn't quite sure what to do with my hand in the photos. Meanwhile, Kevin had a cool, skull-covered dagger to add to his whole pirate persona. I knew I should have bought that hook to wear over my hand!

I ended up spending more time taking photos at the party than I did shooting video. It was just too hard to play hostess, take pictures and make our guests uncomfortable by shoving a video camera in their face- so I opted to just play hostess and take pictures. ;-)

Here are the creative (and kooky) costumes our guests showed up in...

First up, Shannon and Travis. Shannon had on the cutest little Minnie Mouse costume and her boyfriend (whom we had never met before this night) was dressed up as Michael Phelps. Boy did our jaws drop when he came strolling in!

I don't know who is more brave, Travis for dressing up as Michael Phelps or Shannon for going out in public with him! :-)

My "Lettered Cottage Home" partner, Sarah, dressed up as Progressive Insurance spokesperson "Flo"...

Her resemblance to the popular Progressive personality was incredible!

And this is Sarah's husband, Jason.

Jason and Kevin are bandmates. (He plays drums) His Sham-Wow! dude costume had us intentionally spilling things all night. :-)

This is our old boss Josh and his wife, Aubrie:

Josh used to play bass in Kevin and Jason's band, but now he co-owns one of the most popular photography studios in the state. (You can check out his work at New South Art and Kim Box Photography) He was nervous about sporting the super-small girls gym shorts his wife thought were a necessary part of his costume, but once he got a load of Travis' Speed-o, his worried mind was quickly put at ease. :-)

Aubrie and I both met our husbands while we were working together for a company that was providing tour support to their band. Aubrie and I lived in California at the time, but after meeting our sweet Southern suitors we quickly made the switch from sunny So.Cal to sweet home Alabama! Josh and Aubrie welcomed their first baby into the world this past July. His name is Ever, and his snuggly little shark suit provided the inspiration for their swimmer-themed costumes...

I love the tiny triangular teeth that frame his adorable face. :-)

Unfortunately for us, Ever didn't come to the party- but I bet his Grammie and Great Grammie had a ball babysitting him!

Next up is Kevin's friend, Jason Rash, who dressed up as a wounded hospital patient.

He used to work as a real estate agent (he represented us at the closing on this house), but now he works full-time as a personal trainer. The back side of his costume had everyone in stitches. (no pun intended)

Jason's wife, Brooke, showed up right as the party was winding down. She had another party to go to before she could make it to ours. We were so glad she came by, even if it was a little later.

Here are our friends Nick, Shannon and their little boy Dominic.

Their awesome Amish-themed costumes worked so well with Nick's newly-grown beard. :-)
And little Dominick was an absolute delight.

He has such a sunny little personality!
(Maybe we should get a Dominic too?) ;-)

And last but not least, our neighbors Jessica and Eric from the Half Note Cottage on the left side of our house, and Josette and Peter, who live in the Tudor-style home on the right side of our house, finally got to meet each other.

Jessica and Eric came straight from work, so they didn't have costumes on, but Peter came as an old, beach-combing man- complete with a metal detector and a trucker cap covered in bird droppings. Josette was decked out as a gypsy, and really got into the part by acting like she was going to go through everyones purses when they came in the house. It was hilarious!

And there ya have it!
Now we'd like your help choosing the winning costume(s). The poll is located in the left sidebar of our blog, just below the Sponsor section.
The winners(s) of the contest will receive a $25 gift card to Cracker Barrel.
Voting will start today and end next Saturday, November 7th.

Thanks for helping us decide, and don't eat too much candy!

Kevin and Layla

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Friday, October 30, 2009

The LC on TV

Research has proven that writing down your goals, and your plans to achieve them, is the best way to ensure that you accomplish them.
Kevin and I started writing down our goals in January 2008, and we continually make sure to carve out time to modify them as necessary.
Earlier this week, we made a "run for the border" to take some time to talk about our goals. On this particular day I guess you could say we wanted to think outside the bun. :-)

We shared one side of a booth, and had a meeting of the minds over cheap burritos and nachos & cheese. We discussed everything from how the heck we've gotten to this point in our lives, to where the heck we see ourselves going next.

It was a nice little excursion, and I enjoyed each layer of our conversation as much as the seven that filled my delicious burrito.

Once we arrived back at the house, I immediately went to my computer. I had an email from the CBN television network in my inbox. One of their producers asked if we'd be interested in filming two decorating episodes for the show "The 700 Club". (If you've never seen the show, you can find it on the ABC Family Channel, and a slew of other channels, from 10:00-11:00 am.) Of course we said yes! yes! yes!, so they're flying us to Virginia Beach on the 6th of December to shoot for a few days.

The first segment we're doing is a complete master bedroom makeover. On day one, we'll shop for everything we'll need to re-do the room. Day two, cameras will capture us in action, re-doing the room from start to finish. Day three will be the live reveal of the room. (Yeah, I said live.) <:-O

It's like Design Star, without the judges and crazy restrictions. No shopping at a pet store for this challenge! We'll be given a $1500 budget to work with and we'll be allowed to shop at whichever stores/shops tickle our fancy. I guess I better start doing some research on great places to shop around Virginia Beach!

After we're done shooting the room makeover segment, we'll head to the CBN studio to film the Christmas segment. We're so excited about the whole deal- we can barely sit still and we're talking a mile a minute about our ideas for the room we haven't even seen yet. :-)

Stay tuned for photos of the Halloweenie Roast sometime this weekend.
Remember- you're responsible for choosing the winning costume, so make sure you come back and cast your vote!

Have a happy Halloween!
Layla :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

House Tour - Union Springs, AL

Earlier this month, we took a trip to Union Springs, Alabama.
It's a small, laid-back town located about an hour and a half southeast of where we live. Century-old Victorian homes line many of the streets around town, and the ones that are for sale are priced incredibly low because of the towns proximity to the nearest large city (it's a 30 minute drive) and because they are in need of lots and lots of love.

Fun Facts about Union Springs:

Population: 2,989
Elevation: 522 feet
Antique houses: Tons
Number of seconds it took for us to fall head over heels in love with the house in the video you're about to see: One!

Isn't she beautiful? I swear to you, I've had two dreams about her since our visit!

Here's how the ad for the house reads:


"Victorian House with lots of extras!
Columned porch with porch swing, columned entrance open to extra wide foyer, 5 mantles and hardwood floors throughout. Extra tall pocket doors and original wainscoting in the Dining Room. Large butlers pantry with built-in china cabinet, clawfoot tub in bathroom, irrigation system, magnolia and fruit trees.
Just needs a little TLC!
Sold "AS IS" but owner is willing to renovate more with price adjustment.
Fantastic Opportunity!"



Here are some photos we took while strolling around the house...

What do you think? "The Lettered Cottage B&B"?
After all, the ad does say it "just needs is a little T(he) L(ettered) C(ottage)!"

K & L

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Guest Bathroom Door Re-do

Remember this guy? We started blogging about it here, and today I'm going to cover the second half of our first True Value project.

We used an etched glass kit (the material comes on a roll) on the insides of both pieces of plexi. You can't see through it at all, so it gives 100% privacy while still allowing the light from the bathroom to shine through into the hallway. It's a really pretty effect at night! After that, I mitered some decorative wood moulding and attached it to the plexi using epoxy, I started filling in all the gaps with stainable/paintable wood filler.

Here's a close up of the wood filler after it had dried. It's amazing how it has the ability to make the moulding look like it was always a part of the door. (And hide all my imperfect cuts. Shhh!)

The door knob was preventing the door from laying flat while the epoxy dried, so I set it on top of four paint cans.

The next thing I did was tape off the door knob and plexi glass.

I was so proud of my tape job on the knob I actually made Layla come outside and have a looksie. I probably took 7 or 8 pictures of this bad boy, but Layla thought it would be a little excessive to post more than one. :-)

After the tape was in place it was prime time! I used some gray-tinted primer that we had left over from a previous project.

Finally, I painted the door Benjamin Moore's "Fieldstone". Once it was dry, Layla came out and did her thing with her little electric sander.

We picked up some poly the last time we were at True Value. I gave the door a coat to seal and protect it.

We could hardly wait to get it into the house and on the guest bathroom doorway. It's been really uncomfortable for our guests to go to the bathroom for the past few weeks, so we were eager to give them their privacy back.

(I kid, I kid!)

Here it is today, happily hanging in the hallway...

We changed out the mirror over the linen press with one that we were previously using in the kitchen. We like the way its curves contrast with the straight lines of the wood planks on the wall behind it. (Not to mention, we've got plans for the rectangular gray one inside the bathroom now- more on that to come!)

Move your mouse back and forth over the image below to see the before and after.

We did a different technique on the inside of the bathroom door, which we'll blog about as we start to renovate the guest bathroom. We're super pleased with how our first True Value project turned out and can't believe we almost threw this old beauty away at one point. Silly wabbits!

We're gearing up for our 2009 Halloweenie Roast this Friday. It's a costume party and we'll be counting on you guys to choose a winner next week. Even though Layla and I aren't eligible to win the prize because we're hosting the contest, that didn't stop us from really getting into picking out our costumes! We'll be shooting video and taking plenty of photos to capture all the craziness. It should be a blast and we're really looking forward to hanging out with our friends!

Have a great Halloween week,


We are one of five bloggers selected by True Value to work on their DIY Blog Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program, as well as our posts about our experiences. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY projects. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.


Check out the Lettered Cottage Home Zinc Placecards Giveaway at Made 2 Create!


This post brought to you by...

Kimm at Reinvented

Monday, October 26, 2009

True Value Leafblower Giveaway Winner chose commenter #56 as the winner of the E-Max Leafblower

Congratulations Jacci of Home For The Better!

Jacci and her husband Sam are fixing up a split-level ranch home alongside their four awesome kids that they affectionately refer to as, "SweetP, Shug, Punkin and Little Dude". :-)

The intro on Jacci's blog reads,

"In December 2008, our young family of 6 moved into a new house that wasn't very new. Instead, it was a 1983 split-level with pearlescent toilet seats and dark wood paneling.

After unpacking and settling in for the first two months, we put a coat of primer up on the kitchen walls. That was the first week of March 2009. This blog is a journal of everything we've been doing since, plus the design ideas and inspiration that help keep things fun..."

And trust me when I tell you that her blog is so much fun to read!

When you get a chance, stop by her blog and say hello!

Now if you'll excuse us, we've got a bathroom door to hang and take pictures of finally!

Kevin and Layla :-)

PS...Jacci, drop me a line at so that we can hook you up with your new toy soon!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Sunday Stroll to Small Town, Alabama

Happy Sunday to you! :-)

I'm meeting some of Kevin's relatives for the first time today.

They live in a small, country town in the types of houses you see in movies like "Gone with the Wind". Wrap-around porches, wind-planked floor boards and tall walls lined with tall, old wavy glass windows.

When Kevin's "Mama Gustie" passed away, one of his relatives moved her old house from the town we're visiting today, to another. Apparently, it cost just $3000 to pick it up and move it to its current location. (Does that mean Kevin and I could buy an antique house someday for really, really cheap and move it to a lot we love? Hmmmm.....)

A tall, old, tumble-down home that whispers stories of days gone by is the type of inspiration we dream about. The kind that sits where silence is only broken by birdsong and the squeak of a porch swing. The kind that just needs a little love and laughter for it to feel alive again.

Someday, when our work is done here, we'll begin our search for "the one".
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream, right? ;-)


I thought I'd share this video about a sweet, simple couple from Texas today.

"For Dick Cain, a West Texas sunset is money in the bank.
For Bonnie, a happy home is all the insurance she will ever need."

Although Kevin and I don't want to live quite that far from civilization, we are inspired by their love for each other and their ability to find happiness in simplicity. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


Friday, October 23, 2009

True Value Giveaway #1

This giveaway has now ended.
We'll be back soon to announce the winners name!

Good afternoon!

Yesterday morning, we woke up extra early so that we could take a another trip to our favorite True Value store. The store is about 40 minutes from our house, and since I usually work on design consultations from mid-morning to late in the evening, we wanted to make sure I could get back in time for me to get in a full days worth of work in.

Because our second True Value DIY Blog Squad project is going to be an outdoor project, we've had exterior design on the brain a lot lately. As I type, our yard is completely covered in leaves, and our 5-year old rake actually looks nervous, standing in the corner of our storage area under the house. Unfortunately I don't think we're allowed to purchase a leaf blower for ourselves (our DIY Squad mission is to tackle projects), but that doesn't mean we can't spend some of the money True Value gave us on YOU, right? :-)

So our October True Value giveaway will be this fantastic electric leaf blower/vacuum made by E-Max:

Here's a short video we shot yesterday morning while picking it out.
(It will give you a sneak peek at the decor items we'll be giving away in November too!)

To enter to win the E-Max Leaf Blower/Vacuum leave a comment on this post, and tell us why you'd like to win it! (we love your stories!)

The giveaway starts today (Friday, October 23rd, 2009) and will end on Monday, October 26th, 2009 at noon, Central Time. We'll choose a winner using on Monday afternoon- so make sure to come back to see if you've won!

Good luck!

Kevin will be back soon with a post about our bathroom door project. He's in the home stretch, and you're never going to believe how this DIY story ends!

Bear hugs,
Layla :-)

PS- Don't forget to enter True Values "DIY Drama Contest" for a chance to win $5,000 to spend at your local store too!


We are one of five bloggers selected by True Value to work on their DIY Blog Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program, as well as our posts about our experiences. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY projects. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.


This post was brought to you by...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Coastal Living - October 2009


Kevin and I have been invited to write a monthly review for Coastal Living magazine, and we are absolutely thrilled about the opportunity! With so many magazines going out of business lately, and because Coastal Living is one of our all-time favorites, we're going to do whatever we can to help spread the word about this amazing and informative magazine.

The first issue we have the pleasure of blogging about is their October 2009 issue.

When we received our copy in the mail, our eyes were immediately drawn to the bold orange letters across the bottom of the cover that read, "ideas to steal!". Upon further inspection, we learned that the aforementioned ideas could be found on page 35 in an article titled, "12 Rooms, Hundreds of Ideas". Now normally I read a magazine from front to back, but this article was way too intriguing- I had to start there! :-)
The article focused on Coastal Livings 2009 Idea Cottage located in I'On, South Carolina. The photography was phenomenal, (I particularly loved the photo of the kitchen on page 38) and it was such a delight to read about the eco-friendly, classic Lowcountry cottage that truly exemplifies beach-chic charm.

Photo: Tria Giovan

Another article Kevin and I really enjoyed can be found on page 84. It's called "The Boy Who Sailed Around The World". I read the whole thing aloud to Kevin one night. By the time we had reached the articles end, we were inspired to the gills by a courageous 17-year-old boy named Zac. He circumnavigated the globe, alone in his boat, in just over a years time. Can you imagine?! It was a fantastic story and, again, the photography was breathtaking. They even included some very interesting shots that Zac took himself while on his voyage.

Check out this video Zac posted on YouTube:

What an amazing kid, eh?

"A Cure for the Common Condo", on page 90, was also a great read. Writer Melissa Bigner describes how designer Phoebe Howard conquered a washed-out palette and a down-and-out vibe by performing reconstructive surgery, and injecting a heavy dose of wallpaper, fabric, and paint to create an awe-inspiring home. The condo sits seaside in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, which is near Jacksonville.

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

Coastal Living's Heather Chadduck styled the rooms in the condo for this article, and I always get excited when I discover that she played a part in creating the look. She is my absolute favorite! I would love to assist her on a shoot sometime. Heather- if you're reading...


And because my mom's husband (Randy) is a nationally-recognized home brewer- we also enjoyed reading "October Feast" on page 100. The owners of Savannah's "Moon River Brewing Company" shared their favorite Fall-inspired menu, and named which frothy companions would best suit each dish. Their crab salad recipe made my mouth water, and Kevin thought their suggestion to pair it with a Belgian Wheat Beer sounded delicious!


Although we've only highlighted a few stories in the October issue here today, there isn't one article in this issue that we didn't enjoy reading. We look forward to receiving and reviewing the November issue of Coastal Living. From the looks of their website, we'll get to tour another awesome Idea House and peek into Martha Stewart's beach bag too! :-)


Wanna read more Coastal Living reviews?
Check out Lisa's review at Coastal Nest, Maya's review at Completely Coastal, Simone's review at Beach Vintage

This post brought to you by...

Tales from an OC Cottage