My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

House Updates

As you know...
We are never short on projects around here
So, when the weather turned cold and rainy late Friday...we simply changed plans...and worked on the kitchen and dining room. our new staircase!

I spent all day Saturday, sanding...
priming and then sanding some more!

You might remember that the staircase was once a narrow, scary passageway type thing!
Hubby the carpenter opened up the wall...
Put a slight turn at the base to help it feel a little less narrow and steep
Then made the stair balusters  for me.
He finished it off with the newel post that  resembles our other milllwork he finished last year in the transoms!

this was even before I painted the wall or painted the beverage center cabinets!
While I was wielding a paint brush...Hubby was working on our new Pass through fireplace!

Can you say Love?
I am so in love with this!

We are awaiting the insert  that had to special ordered...of course!
I wanted to wait until Fall to order the two sided gas log...I have other plans for the firebox this Summer!

As I type he is working on the crown moulding!

And then we can work our way into the kitchen!
He only has two more transoms to build before he gets there!

We still have several weeks before the custom pieces will be ready to install so He spends his time wrapping up some of the other projects he has going!

 It's so chilly out... so I'm actually cooking a pot of chili this afternoon! The weather has been weird again so anything warm is what I'm craving!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend.
I must get back to priming and sanding...ugh!


  1. I like the sight line in the second from last picture. That will be so elegant once the fire log is in place and you have worked your decor magic.

  2. Donna,
    Your home is looking amazing.Quite a transformation.I am enjoying watching your progress.I love the two sided fireplace idea.That is going to be gorgeous.

  3. The stairwell banister is simply charming! I had to snicker when I notice the LARGE bottle of Alieve in front of the mirror. It is all coming together beautifully. I really like the little coffee bar with the overhead cabinet, nice.

  4. Donna, Your home is going to be a special retreat for you and your prince. It is looking wonderful. love it, Susie

  5. The stair case is darling! You're making great progress, I can't wait to see the finished fireplace. Sally xx

  6. Love the staircase and the fireplace. lucky you are to have a husband that can make your visions come to life!

  7. Donna,
    I remember the prototype banister that you made. Now you have the real deal! I love everything that I see in your home. The fireplace wonderful. I can't wait to view the first fire in the Fall.

  8. Wow what a transformation. Can't wait to see the fireplace once it's installed.

  9. Hi Donna - I love your staircase railings: so charming! And, your double sided that the right term? Or is it pass through f/p? Anyhow, I want one of those!!

    You are so lucky to have a carpenter hubby :-) You two make a great team.

    I just added your blog to my blog list. Looking forward to following along and seeing your house progress :-)
    Tone on Tone

  10. beautiful.........LOVE that stair case and railing !!!!! Noticed the bottle of Aleve.......with all the work your doing, I am sure it is much needed...

  11. Oh guys have really made some progress. It's looking so wonderful over there. I know you must be so excited to get it all done. Love seeing the stages. The fireplace is so cool :) Enjoy your chili.

  12. Love watching your house unfold wilth all these personal touches. That fireplace will be amazing, I'm sure. I toured a home of an antiques dealer many years ago and she had a fireplace that went through from her living room to the den and I fell in love withthat idea:-)


  13. You must be getting so excited Donna! Everything is coming together beautifully. You two have put your heart and soul into your home and that is what is going to make it even more special.
    It has been cold here too and I have been holding my breath because the lilacs are just about to bloom.
    Yum...chili sounds good about now!
    love you much...

  14. Beautiful transformation of your stairway, and I love your whole lovely home.


  15. Oh- I love it all. You will love, love, love your 2 way fireplace. I have one between my dining room and my little sitting room and I love it all year long! xo Diana

  16. Cool fireplace! And the stairs look wonderful, once again i love all your colors, and the rails are so unique and charming, lucky you for having a husband to do that. Talk about love, that mirror in your photos, omg... that mirror is insane it is so awesome!


  17. AWSOME POST :) I really like your blog and I want to follow, do you have twitter or FB??

    If you want some swedish decor inspiration, you can check out my blog:)
    Have a great week.

    LOVE Maria at

  18. Things are looking good! It's fun following along.


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~Donna Reyné