Well that was provocative, no? I actually took a bath exactly one year and one week ago when I was trying to induce labor (it worked!). But before that, it really had been years. Who takes baths anymore? First, ain’t nobody got time for that. Second, gross. Laying in your own filth does not sound relaxing in any way. If I’m going to light candles and indulge in a nice glass of wine, I’d like to do it, you know, by a fire, or anywhere really, when I’m not cold and wet. Let this truth sink in (yes, pun!): Gone are the days where a jetted tub in the master is appealing. They are dust collectors. Yank it. I mean it. If there is a bath in your master and it’s not some gorgeous vintage clawfoot tub – we need to take a sledge hammer to it stat. That’s what we’ve done in our last two homes, what we’ve counseled our clients to do and not once have I regretted it. There is one caveat to this. If this is the only bathtub in your home, you need to keep it. Because any parent will tell you, you can’t sell your house without one tub. OK. Is it gone? How amazing did it feel getting your stress out breaking that bad boy into huge chunks? Yasss. Now we can talk about what you need to do instead:
It took me about a year to learn how to say quinoa properly. Keen-wahh. Fancy. So what’s this new design trend that I have a hard time pronouncing but am madly in love with and have been trying to replicate in my living space, for you know, ever?! Throwback to when I was ten and would make my friends come over to “play” so I could have the manpower to rearrange my room twenty seven different ways to see what felt best. Turns out, that feeling actually has a name and it’s a pretty fancy one at that for a not-so-fancy concept. Spelled h y g g e, pronounced hoo-gahh. Say it with me, hoogahh. Not to be confused with hookah, yuk. Hygge is the Danish word for “taking pleasure from the soothing, ordinary, and inexpensive things in life”. Translated into home design, it’s cozy, intimate, warm. Tuck in with your favorite cushy blanket, light that delicious smelling candle and grab your hot, but not too hot for sipping, mug of tea and check out the latest hygge picks we’re coveting for our next #NixonPack project. Heck, who am I kidding? I’ve already placed my etsy order and the “project” is me!
One of our guilty pleasures during nap time is to catch up on all of our favorite magazines or scroll through Instagram for design inspiration. There’s so much goodness out there sometimes it gets overwhelming, right? Without fail, the pages I always flag first are the ones of dreamy living spaces with inviting nooks for chatting and white couches. Gosh, I love a nice white couch. Upon further inspection though, is that baby puke in the corner of that cushion? Black dog hair from the lab who’s claimed the spot for a nice afternoon siesta? No, you don’t see it?! Oh, must just be my house. Right. I can’t have a white couch and probably never will because we have
dogs, a baby, a love of wine, snacking on the sofa, a zest for life. And you know what else? I don’t see a TV on that page. Not only can this family have white couches, they don’t watch television? That can’t be real life. And that’s my point. You can pin all the decor inspo you like from your favorite designers, but most of them don’t design for real life. They design for clients who don’t have time to watch television, have a clean up crew for the inevitable wine spillage, OK, let’s face it they probably don’t even live there. Here’s what we want you to be honest about when you start pinning:
Jon and I bought our first house when I was just 21. Most people have dreams of owning their own home for a multitude of reasons. The American dream, starting a family, visions of that white picket fence…ours was for the Pack. We were in a tiny little apartment with a no pets policy and Jolea, our Chihuahua. We went out for bagels one morning and stumbled on a rescue group desperately trying to home dogs born in a FEMA trailer during Hurricane Katrina. Needless to say we came home sans bagels, plus two Labradors. And now, we were a young couple with a too cute to be properly trained Chihuahua and two rambunctious lab puppies in a no-pets-allowed tiny apartment. Enter, first house.
You might be thinking “prop photo” when you see the kitchen above. Actually, this was a real day when I was enjoying my favorite green smoothie and prepping dinner. Ahh, all that fresh farmer’s market bounty has me craving summer. But if you were thinking “props” you weren’t entirely wrong. Look back toward the left of the stove and you’ll see a toaster. That my friends, is indeed a prop toaster. It works, but if you look closely it still has the plastic packaging on the back because my husband has dubbed it the “good” toaster that is too nice to use. No, really. My parents came for Christmas and had the audacity to put slices of bread in it and leave crumbs. Jon just about lost his mind. Do you have anything like that at home or is it just us?
I’m all about the thrill of the hunt. I am constantly flipping through magazines, window shopping, pinning and scrolling Insta for the latest and greatest in home design and decor trends. It feeds my competitive side because I must have that oddball item no one else has (yet) and I’ve got to get it for a steal. It’s a little bit like shopping for baby clothes. Mamas, you know what I mean. Everyone buys the same old Carter’s onesies and I crave dressing my little man in that sweet startup brand that a SAHM just launched on Etsy. You with me?
We’ve all told a little white lie before, right? No judgement. I actually resolved to tell less of them in 2017. Working on it! Buttt for the purposes of this post, and for selling your home, we’re going to ask you to tell just a few.
You’ve heard wallpaper is a
nightmare big commitment. We covered that, right? I’m still a fan in most cases. But what about a mural? When and where does that work in your home? For us, it was never something that we remotely entertained until I was pregnant with our little guy. I spent more hours than I should really admit to pouring over Pinterest to find something, anything, that inspired me for Grey’s nursery. I wanted it to be fun, a theme that would take him from babbling baby to having a “girls have cooties, do not enter” sign taped to his door. We love all things Chicago and from our time living here had acquired some really cool pieces that just so happened to be exactly what I was envisioning. Sometimes you already have what you need, you just need something to bring it all together.
I’ve never been a big fan of an accent wall. OK, that’s not entirely true. I’ll clarify. I am not a fan of a single wall painted a different color, just because. I’m even less of a fan when it’s a dining room wall and a bad shade of burgundy. Blehhh. But I am a big fan of statement walls and you can achieve that in so many, way less-boring, way more you, ways. Our last #NixonPack residence was a fabulous three story brick town home in Chicago. It was city living at its finest complete with an awesome skyline view on the roof deck. But what it did not have was a lot of space. It was a cookie cutter layout that mirrored every other town home in the complex. If you’d seen one, you’d seen them all and we wanted ours to stand out because that’s the Nixon Pack way. While it was a long space, it was narrow, and it was just one run-on wall from the back of the house to the front, encompassing the kitchen, living and dining areas. How could we define the space?
The most recent #NixonPack house was a total gut. I was several months pregnant and looking back, that may not have been the very best time to completely renovate a home. My husband and the whip marks on his back would agree. Kidding! (Okay, half joking). We bought the house from an elderly couple and it just felt like the walls were begging to be stripped of the 1974 wallpaper and the odd (and completely unnecessary) soffits in the kitchen. Finding out the wall between the kitchen and the living room wasn’t load bearing? Jackpot! Must. Come. Down. Every show I had seen on HGTV smashed the walls down and honestly? It looked like fun. Now time for the reality check – when you see it on TV they have done most of the pre-work so you see the big reveal moment at the very end when they miraculously plow through to the other side. Not the case IRL. But I must say, after watching my husband do it, there’s something pretty Superman about the process and boy is it gratifying to see it wide open at the end of the day. OK, so we fully committed – our entire first floor is W I D E O P E N. I mean open the front door and see an unobstructed view to the backyard kind of open. Here’s what we like about it and what we don’t so you have an arsenal of knowledge before you get out the sledge hammer.