Mari’s Nursery Reveal

IMG_3167If I am being honest, I’ve been meaning to write this post since the beginning of February. My little personal goal was to finish Mari’s nursery, take these photos and have this post up before she arrived. BUT, when she made her appearance 17 days early, before her baby shower gifts were all put away and her nursery was even finished, this post got put on the back burner. I have thought about posting it quite a few times since then, but I wanted to wait until I had her newborn photos printed and hung- since those were the last thing I wanted to complete this room.IMG_3164


After waiting a few weeks for her photos, deciding which ones to print, and then another few weeks for Amazon to deliver the frames..(thanks pandemic)…this room is finally complete! And I am finally finding the time to post it.IMG_3147Like her name and baby shower, I knew that I wanted Mari’s bedroom to be inspired by the ocean and the beach. Poor girl might grow up hating the island life, but right now she doesn’t have much of a choice, but to love it like me. 😉IMG_3148Like the rest of our home, I wanted this space to be filled with pieces that have meaning to us. I printed this giant photo that I took of one of our favorite vacation spots in the Dominican Republic to hang above her crib.IMG_3172Fun fact, I was about 1 week pregnant when I captured this photo. I love sitting in this room with Mari in my arms, looking at this photo and remembering that exact moment…I had no idea that her little life was already beginning in my belly, and that I was already her mama. It’s so special and strange for me to think that she was with me in that moment on that beach.IMG_3150That photo isn’t the only special thing on her walls. On the opposite side of her room, there is this water color painting my grandma painted for Mari. She has painted a picture of flowers for each of her great grand daughters, she titled it “Mari’s flowers” and it is so special to me.IMG_3166A few other sentimental decorations in her room include this cute sign that states “Now entering island time” that aunt Shara made for her baby shower, a picture frame with her hand and foot print that was gifted to us from Derek’s aunt, and a vase full of sea shells from all of our favorite beaches in the Dominican Republic.IMG_3162She also has baby blankets that were gifted from our moms, and a few that were hand made…one by Derek’s aunt, and a couple from each of our great grandma’s, who have passed away. I keep them all in this cedar chest, that my mom had since high school. She didn’t want it anymore, and I thought it was the perfect sentimental, but also functional, piece of furniture to hide away blankets and toys as Mari grows up. IMG_3159Speaking of furniture, I luckily had most of the pieces in this room already. I debated on buying a new rocking chair, but since we have one in our living room already, I just used this big leather chair in here instead. My mom bought this pink foot stool from TJ Maxx to go with it, and it is the perfect set up for feedings, and bed time stories.IMG_3149Next to the chair is this cute white table. Derek and I actually used it as our cake table for our wedding. Back then, it was blue. After I painted it white, I thought about selling it, but I am glad I held onto it a little longer because it is the perfect table for a nursery. Again, a cute piece that has some sentimental value…right up my alley. 😉IMG_3143I’ve had this dresser from IKEA since high school, and we had these shelves collecting dust in our shed, waiting for the perfect time and place to hang them. On either side of her dresser and shelves, there is her momaroo swing in one corner, and her book “shelf” in the other. I found these shelves at target, and they are the perfect modern display for all of her books. I can’t wait until she is old enough to pick out her favorites for story time. (okay maybe I can wait).IMG_3142IMG_3146Her crib is from Wayfair and it was gifted to us by Derek’s parents. It is the perfect color, size and style to keep throughout the years for our next baby(s). I found these seashell curtains on Overstock, and her cute rug from RugsUSA ties it all together.IMG_3160As far as decor goes, I had a few beach and ocean pieces already including this seashell candle, this photo from the DR that I had printed and framed, and a conch shell from our honeymoon. And with a few extra gifts and purchases like these ocean animal sheets, her stuffed whale and octopus, and this cute pineapple lamp from Target, her room was complete!IMG_3163IMG_3165This room is one of my favorite spaces in our house for many different reasons. It lives up to it’s ocean theme- it’s bright, happy, and relaxing. It is filled with sentimental pieces that bring back memories, things that Mari will grow into the future, and items that mean so much to our little family. It has been used for a lot of different things over the last four years, but it has never felt as special as being the first bedroom that belongs to our Mari girl. 

Onto the next adventure- Wren





Bedroom Tour at the Dursteler Abode

IMG_0992I think absolutely loving the space that you start and end your days in is so important. I’ve always loved decorating and creating a space that feels like me and growing up/ living at home, my bedroom was the only place that I could accomplish that in.


IMG_0995IMG_0990IMG_0994I remember as I grew up, I realized I could make this space of mine feel however I wanted it to. When I was  really young, I would hang all of my art and drawings on my walls and organize all of my favorite stuffed animals to “decorate” my bed. As I grew older, I went through a red and gold room, an Asian style room, a room that I covered my walls from floor to ceiling with photos of all of my favorite bands and magazine photos, and a Paris themed room. Looking back, every single “style” I had in my room represented myself at that time in my life.IMG_0998When Derek and I moved in together, we had to find a common ground with how we were going to decorate our bedroom. Just like most things that have to do with style and decorating, Derek always said “you decorate it..I don’t care. I think it will look good whatever you choose to do.” I remember being a 20 year old and shopping for new bedroom decor…No pink, No floral, No purple, no “it’s a women’s world” quotes, no posters of Ryan gosling with his shirt off..damnit. (looking back, Derek probably wouldn’t mind. 😉 )IMG_0997However, it was always important to me to have a space that represented us both, and our relationship. Derek might not get the happiness high that I get when I wake up in a space that I created, but at least he won’t feel like he doesn’t belong. That was always important to me. In our first apartment, we had a green/ nature themed bedroom. When we first moved into our home, I decorated our bedroom with a lot of our wedding decor,  and it evolved into more of a farm house themed room. And even though I loved it, it has never felt like exactly like “us” until now.IMG_1003IMG_1004













IMG_1002Our current bedroom is exactly what I’ve always wanted since I’ve shared a bedroom with Derek: photos of our wedding day, accompanied by our hand written vows on our walls, bright colors, books, candles, souvenirs from our travels, and my favorite part- furniture that was handmade by Derek himself.IMG_0996IMG_0991It’s bright, it’s cozy, it’s peaceful, it’s comfortable, it brings nostalgia and happiness, but most of all it’s US. Every morning I wake up to Harvey snuggles, and every night I go to sleep with Derek kisses. Both take place in a small space that I love that is filled with reminders of our life together.

Onto the next adventure, Wren


Living Area Complete- & Finding our Personal Style

Like always, Derek and I have been so busy this month, and it’s going to stay this way for a while. Between Shara’s wedding, family being in town, friends coming to stay with us, and Derek’s birthday coming up- it’s been a great month filled with celebrations and busy days. With any free time we’ve had, we have spent it working on our home (AKA our Dursteler abode).


30711097_1611800882206328_6476323401148399616_nIn the two years we’ve owned our home, we’ve never had a room that feels 100% complete. There has always been a small project to be done, another furniture piece to be bought, or a small list of things to hang. We kept procrastinating these little projects since we knew we were moving out last fall, but since we’ve been back in our home, we’ve been so inspired and motivated to get things done. And I am so happy to say that our living room and dining rooms are FINALLY complete.



Owning our own home and finding our design style has been one of the most fun things we’ve ever done together. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my personal style while doing so. Derek has too, even though he always just says “whatever you think, I trust you. It always looks good.” I don’t know what the exact word for my design style would be, but I’d say its a mix between modern, mid-century and minimalist.30709639_1611800968872986_2957857222710788096_n



30744010_1611801072206309_8148697693850435584_nNothing makes me happier or more inspired than nature, so I love to decorate with blues and browns and of course, green plants to bring the feeling of the outdoors in. I also have learned that I am a lover of neutral colors. I used to think that I always loved a bright pop of color, and while I do in other homes, I have learned that I am personally most content surrounded by gray, white, brown, and black.



As far as decorations go, I have learned that I love decorating with items that have purpose to Derek and I. Whether that is personal photos, our favorite books, souvenirs from our travels, or a good hand-me down furniture piece like this rocking chair that my mother was rocked in as a baby, as well my nieces, sisters, and I.



30710071_1611800965539653_3469650250166173696_n30708788_1611800822206334_3685760025109725184_nWe love things that make our house feel like our home and coming from a minimalist point of view, we don’t like things that don’t have purpose to us or make our space feel too cluttered. I am also a lover of candles. I don’t think there is one room in our house that doesn’t have at least two candles.

30703883_1611801132206303_9153202428835790848_n30707063_1611800808873002_201616257479344128_n (1)

30762772_1611800892206327_7250540167339966464_nI have changed these two rooms a lot, I have got rid of furniture and decorations that I don’t love, and have spent a lot of money and time filling these rooms with things I do love. I’ve redecorated, re arranged, re organized and just about again remodeled these spaces to make it feel like the way I want it to. I think it’s important to have your home reflect who you are. Your home should make you feel comfortable, inspired, and happy. If it doesn’t do these things, get rid of the things that don’t have purpose to you and fill your home with things that do.

Onto the next adventure, Wren

Where I shop:

DIY Bathroom Remodel

I am finally finding time to reveal our bathroom remodel photos and process and it is perfect timing because we’re moving out of our Dursteler Abode in exactly one week! We have renters moving in the beginning of August and they will be here for six months. Which means we will move back in at the beginning of February. (We will be staying at my mom’s for the two months that we are not living in China.)

As it gets closer, I am actually sad to temporarily move out of our home. We’ve put so much work and love into it, it is hard to leave it, but knowing that it is temporary helps. So, here’s to the last Dursteler Abode post until next year! (Unless I decide to randomly blog old photos while we’re on the other side of the world.)

When we bought our house, the two bathrooms were so ugly, but they were liveable. We decided to put the bathrooms on hold, and remodel them when we saved enough money. We changed things here and there. And over time, we painted the walls, re-did the floors, updated the lights, re-did our master bathroom shower, and updated our faucets.

Here are some photos from before we moved in, during the process(how they looked for about a year) and after!

Master bath:

Hall Bath:

We were planning on saving money and doing our vanities last, but when we decided to use that saved money for China instead, I decided to just DIY them. Painting the cabinets and updating the hardware was the easiest and cheapest option, so that’s exactly what I did for the time being. It made such a big difference!

Steps to DIY cabinets:

  1. Take off all doors and drawers on vanities by unscrewing hinges (I used an electric drill)
  2. Tape off all walls and floors with painter’s tape and painter’s tarp.20246456_1376404302412655_841606044858428188_n
  3. Lay all drawers and cabinets in a well ventilated area on painter’s tarp.20258127_1376404345745984_2026470531331295816_n
  4. Clean with TSP cleaner (follow directions on bottle.)
  5. Lightly sand- I used our hand held sander that we already had at home.
  6. Paint in preferred color! I used Behr’s semi gloss paint in Superior Blue.
  7. Reattach cabinet doors and drawers with hinges and electric drill. And Attach new hardware.20258244_1376402495746169_393648987814987985_n

I bought new hardware and hinges since our’s were ruined with rust, but if your’s are in good shape, you can save money by updating them with a new color of spray paint.

And wa-la! After our vanities were painted and our decor was updated, Our DIY bathroom remodels were complete. The only thing that we did not do ourself was our shower. We started to do it ourself about a year ago, but realized tiling is for a professional’s job and decided to spend the money and hire someone.

Eventually, we might splurge and update the vanities and re-do the counter tops, but for now I love our bathrooms. And I think they will be perfect for the renters. It’s amazing how far a small budget goes when you update the little things like decor, lights, and faucets. If you want to re model a room in your home, but don’t have the budget for it, start small and change a few of the little things. I promise it will make a huge difference!

Updating our home together and doing DIY projects has become one of our favorite hobbies to do together. We will definetely miss doing it for the next six months, but we are so excited for our upcoming adventures!

In the near future, I am going to figure out how to link my sources for my purchases, but for now here is a list of where I bought everything

  • Rugs: Target
  • Rectangle Mirror: Target
  • Shower curtain: Target
  • Round Mirror: At Home
  • Sunflowers & vase: Ikea
  • Industrial towel holder: TJ MAXX
  • Striped hand towels: TJ MAXX
  • Hand towel metal Shelf: Wayfair
  • Beach Sign: Orange county swap meet
  • Bohemian Towels: Peshtemalart on Etsy
  • Light fixtures: Lowe’s
  • Faucets: Home Depot
  • Hardware: Home Depot

Onto the next adventure, Wren

Industrial Shelf Tutorial


I have been wanting to make these shelves since we bought our house last year. I knew that they would be an easy and inexpensive project, but I kept procrastinating with them! I am so glad that I finally got around to making them because they make our office feel complete. I found an easy tutorial on Pinterest, and changed a few things to have them fit my style and size that I was going for.

Supplies you will need: (that you most likely already have)

  • Drill
  • Level
  • Measuring Tape
  • Optional: a very handsome handy husband. (Or a friend!)

Supplies that you will (most likely) need to buy: ( I purchased everything at Lowe’s!)

  • Four 1/2 inch galvanized floor flanges
  • Four 1/2-in x 12-in galvanized pipes
  • Four 1/2-in x 6-in galvanized pipes
  • Six 1/2-in x 10-in galvanized pipes


  • Four 1/2-in galvanized 90-degree elbows
  • Four 1/2-in x 1-in galvanized tees
  • Sixteen Flathead screws
  • Two Rubbermaid laminate shelves

(My shelves are 1 ft wide X 4 ft long in the espresso color)


I marked a few pictures, so that you can visualize where each piece of the shelf will go!

Floor Flanges and flat head screws:22


Elbows(red) & Tees (black):


Pipes: 12 inch (red) 6 inch (black) 10 inch (blue)44

Steps to follow: 

  1. Lay all pipes, flanges,elbows and tees out to visualize shelf size
  2. Screw all pieces together
  3. Mark wall with preferable locations of first floor flange(I started with the top left)
  4. Measure distance, and mark each floor flange location accordingly
  5. Drill top floor flanges into wall
  6. Use level to perfect flange distance, so that the shelf is level before drilling the bottom two flanges into wall
  7. Finish drilling into wall, and place shelves on pipes
  8. Decorate!!


Ta-Da so simple, and inexpensive. These shelves cost me a total of $40!  If any of you follow this tutorial, please send me pictures of your beautiful shelves.

Thanks for reading!

Onto the next adventure, Wren

Dursteler Abode Renovation

The other day I got frustrated because my furniture wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. I got a little upset and I was in the mood to throw everything away, and start over. Poor Derek comes home almost every week to a rearranged, reorganized, re-designed house.

I  took a little break from my weekly re-designing mood to sit down and finish this video. My whole mind set instantly changed. Our home may not have everything I want it to have, and I am starting to accept that it will most likely never feel complete, but that’s okay. Every time I walk into a room, I see how much work we’ve done, how many memories we’ve made in these past four months, and how far we have came with our renovations.

I am constantly getting compliments on our home from strangers, and I appreciate it so much. I just want you all to know that it is not finished, and it is no where near “oh my gosh your house is perfect!” Our bathrooms are still under renovation and I have a long wish list of new furniture I need to make all of my visions come to life, but that is the fun that comes along with owning a house!

I love our Dursteler Abode, and I am so happy I have this video to remind me how much I love it, and how much TLC we’ve put into it. Also, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped us with our remodeling and renovations, whether you’re in this video or not, you know who you are and we appreciate it and love you so much!

Thanks for watching, Enjoy!


Onto the next adventure, Wren

DIY Fireplace Makeover Tutorial

To be honest, out of all of the projects that we did on our renovation, I think the fireplace was my favorite. Mostly because the second I first saw it, I had a vision of what I wanted it to look like. I wanted to create a wall that made the room feel large, and brighten it up a bit. (A LOT) It was so fun seeing that vision come to life. By the way, my vision did not have pink shag carpet.

Our fireplace is the number one thing we’ve had compliments on, and it’s one of my favorite features of this house. I always wanted to have a wood burning fireplace, with a picture from my wedding day above it, and I am so happy with the way it turned out! I will eventually decorate my mantle, once I (Derek) get around to hanging that giant canvas.
Also, here is a sneak peak of our new couch, and our new puppy, Harvey! We welcomed him into our little family four days ago. Once our living room is complete, I will be sharing a full room tour. But first,  the fireplace tutorial!


Items that we used, and that you may need:

Side Note: We bought all of our items at Home Depot and Lowe’s.

  1. A can of basic white paint (and primer if you want to skip a step) we had left over from our baseboards and trim, so we used the one that is pictured below.
  2. Paint masks (personal preference)
  3. Black HIGH HEAT spray paint. We bought paint that is used for BBQ grills, since our fireplace will eventually be extremely hot.
  4. A paint gun (personal preference) It saved us TONS of time, and brushes would’ve been too difficult in our situation, since our wall is natural wood.
  5. Paint tarp

Step 1: 

Using the paint tarp and heavy duty duct tape, tape off all ceilings, floors, and walls surrounding the fireplace. Using the spray gun, begin painting.

Side Note: I did not get any pictures of this first step, because Derek did it while I was not there, but as you can see our vent, walls, and fireplace is all taped off, and he is spraying the mantle. (Or in our case, the whole wall!)

Step 2:

Remove all paint tarp and prepare to paint fireplace surround. (The bricks) 

By this time, Derek had painted our ceilings, cabinets, doors, baseboards, and some of the walls, and he had had enough with the paint. So, I decided to take on this part.

Step 3:

Using more paint tarp, tape off all areas surrounding the fireplace surround. Since I used black spray paint, Derek made sure to tape off every inch of the white wall that he had just painted.Step 4: 

Clean off all dust from bricks, and get spraying!

I did two coats of paint, and only used 1 can.

Side Note: Since we didn’t have our floors down yet, we didn’t worry about taping those off, but in most people’s situations, TARP OFF YOUR FLOOR.

Step 5:

Remove all tarp and tape, and enjoy your finished project!

Like I said before, I am so happy with the way our fireplace turned out. Looking at these pictures makes me so happy. It’s exactly what I’ve always wanted. A pretty home, that my husband and I designed, filled with new furniture. A wedding canvas on our mantel, and a puppy on our couch. My dreams just keep coming true!

Onto the next adventure, Wren


Our DIY Cabinet Makeover

Hello all! Looking back at these pictures make it seem like years ago that we were re modeling the Dursteler Abode. It’s crazy that we’ve only officially lived here for almost two weeks. Since we did the whole re-model ourselves, I have decided to make some DIY tutorial posts. Starting with our kitchen cabinet makeover.

Ha, makeover is a funny word considering it was just a few cans of paint, and some new hardware, but they do look pretty made over. Here is our (beautiful 😉 ) before picture.



The second I saw this kitchen, I knew that those cabinets were meant to be WHITE. The brown looked outdated, old, and very tacky next to those red/orange counter tops. Derek and his dad knew how much work I’d have to put into painting them, but after a lot of begging and convincing, they agreed to help. And boy did it pay off!

Let’s get started!

Materials needed: 

Household Items:

  • Electric Screwdriver
  • Sanding Block
  • Screwdriver
  • Rag
  • Sponge

Things that you will (most likely) need to buy:

  • Paint!

We used: Advance Satin Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint 792 Jones Paint & Glass.

  • Liquid TSP heavy duty cleaner Home Depot
  • A paint gun/sprayer (optional) Home Depot
  • Rollers/ and paint brushes (if not using a sprayer) Home depot
  • Paint tarp Home Depot

I’ve inserted some pictures of the things that we used!


Step 1:

Number all cabinets and drawers with tape and a permanent marker (I also drew a picture of my kitchen layout so that I would know which number goes where)


Step 2: 

Using your electric screw driver, remove all drawers, and cabinets.


Step 3:

Using your screwdriver, or electric screwdriver, remove all hardware (handles, hinges, drawer sliders) THANKS sister in law. 😉


Step 4:

Following the cleaning directions, use the TSP cleaner and a sponge to clean the cabinets and drawers.

13237851_1006478339405255_4698832337222458006_nStep 5:

Lightly sand cabinets and drawers and wipe away extra dust with a rag.




Step 6:

Using the paint tarp, tape off kitchen walls, sink, counter tops, and inside of cabinets and prepare to paint!


Step 7:

Lay all cabinets on another tarp in a well ventilated area (we used our back yard and covered patio since we don’t have a garage.) And begin painting!

I don’t have any pictures of Derek painting cabinets that are inside, but I promise he did it all. (I’m so thankful for him.)

SIDE NOTE: We started using a roller, but it took way too long, so we switched to the spray gun, it saved us a lot of time. Personal preference though!


Step 8:

Attach hinges on cabinets, drawer sliders on drawers, and put everything back in its proper place. Thanks mother in law! 😉

SIDE NOTE: We spray painted our original hinges silver to update them, and save money.



Once all cabinets are hung and drawers are in place, attach new handles. (The original ones were in terrible shape, so we had to buy new handles.)

AND WA-LA just like that our kitchen looks (and feels) bright, clean, fresh, and open. It even feels new! 🙂




Onto the next adventure, Wren

4 Weeks of Renovation DOWN


13043511_993203090732780_2369850572382557935_nWell yesterday, we wrapped up week four of our Dursteler Abode renovation. We officially have kitchen cabinets, floors and baseboards, new toilets, and all of our trim and our fireplace is painted. I can’t believe the progress we’ve made! I am so excited for what is to come.


I will eventually be posting a tutorial on our kitchen cabinet remodel, as well as our fireplace remodel.


13002339_996937550359334_5133891062219487063_o (1)


Shout out to my husband and father in law, who measured, cut, and laid all of our beautiful floor.



13095966_996960043690418_1541755982873286727_nNext up on the agenda: touch up paint, finish installing new light fixtures, switches, and outlets. And if the weather cooperates, finish painting all of our doors. If the weather does not cooperate, we will have to live without doors for a while. We hope to be moving in by this weekend! Which means the next Dursteler Abode blog post will have furniture. 🙂


13041452_996937777025978_7491835232043981680_oDon’t you love that green parrot statue, and our make shift fountain? The backyard is a whole other project, that we will eventually get to.

Thanks for following along!

Onto the next adventure (while still working on this one) Wren


Dursteler Abode-a go

It’s been exactly two weeks since we officially became home owners to our 1970’s yellow fixer upper. The second I walked into that house that day Joanna Gaines voice went through my head, “Do you have what it takes to take on a fixer upper?”

I knew it would be a lot of work, but it’s always been my dream to buy an old house, and make it feel new. So, with a lot of help from friends and family, and my awesome husband (who I have now learned is the perfect handy man, that I always wanted to marry) we began.

Here are the before pictures and  what we were working with.

Living Room: There was bright pink carpet through out.


Dining Room:12920364_987922534594169_2759939218511352237_n


Hall Bathroom: (Don’t you love that toilet paper holder?)12512234_987922601260829_3183189163899598682_n

Office/First bedroom: (Desk Built ins and chairs included)12919619_987922571260832_3943195714441891149_n

Second bedroom:12936635_987922627927493_490416290883067400_n

Master Bedroom: (make shift flower decor included)12961455_987922617927494_3719241344726506601_n

Master Bedroom:12924468_987922657927490_3008340899380879187_nMaster Bathroom:


I knew that there would be a ton of work going into this, but the second I saw the huge fenced backyard (which is another project by the way) the wood burning fireplace, and all of the light that came through each window, I saw potential, and I fell in love.

I spent Friday afternoon cleaning out all of the old furniture, books, and other things that the old lady left behind. Saturday was DEMO DAY.

The first to go was the carpet! I couldn’t believe how big and open the house felt when it was gone. Ps-we removed all of the carpet and wall paper in one day. Surprisingly, we knew what we were doing. (Thanks to binge watching HGTV for the last 10 years.)


Over the next few days, we took off all of the baseboards, removed the wall paper, removed the built in shelves and desks, smashed the tile, and scraped that popcorn ceiling off.




Once the house was all torn apart, it was time to start putting it back together. Derek and the guys re-textured our ceiling since it was ruined from the popcorn. The girls and I took all of our kitchen cabinets down, cleaned them, sanded them and got them ready for paint!




We are extremely exhausted, sore, and so so excited! As of right now, we are just about finished painting all of our walls, and we finished our kitchen cabinets yesterday. Once everything is painted (fireplace, trim, baseboards, ceilings, doors) we will install our floor!


We have decided to update our bathrooms, and kitchen with new faucets and light fixtures for now. We are going to eventually remodel our bathrooms, and the kitchen back splash and counter tops.  (Which may grow on me with time.)

I am so pleased with how this renovation has turned out. We have had so much help (from the people pictured, and many who are not.) I can’t believe how far we have come in just two weeks. I am so excited to see where we will be in another two! Thanks for following along.

PS. I made a tab for my “Home” I am going to start doing tutorials, DIYs, design and decor tips on the blog as we grow in our Dursteler Abode!

Onto the next adventure,(well finishing this one 😉 ) Wren