Deuce Cities Henhouse

About Our Gus


Hey Friends. I’m gonna talk a bit about the Allen fam today. Some of you may have noticed that I’m not posting as frequently as I was a few months ago. There’s a good reason for that: our youngest Gus has been taking up a lot of my days. We’ve been taking trips to the zoo, visiting the library, going to IKEA for fun, running errands together, you name it. Now that his older brother is at kindergarten every day it has been nice having some one-on-one time together, and we’ve had a blast. I’ve been so happy to have this time with him and I’m glad to see him learning and growing every day.

Around Gus’ 3rd birthday we noticed that his language skills were not quite where most 3-year olds typically are, this fall we sought out the developmental specialists at the Minneapolis school district. After many meetings and evaluations with Gus, they informed us that that Gus is on the Autism Spectrum.

It was a shock and a surprise, and then it also wasn’t. Like I said, his language skills have been slow to fill in (although they are always improving). He has a hard time in social situations with people he doesn’t know; he’s super shy and covers his face when introduced to new situations. Also, he is kind of obsessed with trains. He loves talking about trains, playing with toy trains, reading books about trains, wearing PJs with trains on them, you name it. Having hyper-focused interests is a common thread with autism.

He is also incredibly loving, affectionate, kind, sweet, snuggly, funny (very funny) and smart. He loves his brother Finn and idolizes him. He loves to wrestle his dad, demanding nightly roughhousing sessions before bed. And he’s got that having your mom wrapped around your little finger thing figured out. After spending time with people he warms up to them very well. You know you’ve broken the seal with Gus when he starts tickling you – that’s his way of showing you that he’s interested in being your friend.

As a family we are slowly trying to figure out what this diagnosis means for us. We are very positive about having a plan for Gus. He is starting preschool (today!) specifically designed for young kids on the Autism Spectrum, and the goal is to have him ready to enter Kindergarten in a few short years. Gus is three and a half, so he has a lot of time to figure out strategies to help him with his communication and socialization by the time kindergarten comes around.

We are taking it day by day, but are nothing short of positive. We will continue on doing the things we always do. We will try our hardest not treat him any differently than his brother or other kids. We will work on honing his new skills as he learns them. This might be the last time I ever mention this for all I know. WE don’t want to label him as “broken,” because he’s not. He just learns and interacts differently, as do millions of people around the world who are on the Autism Spectrum. So we will celebrate him and his uniqueness as a family!

So why am I telling you guys? Well, I have a lot of friends and family that check up on us via the blog and I figured this was a more personal way of sharing the news than writing a dumb and awkward Facebook post. It’s also kind of a tricky subject to just drop on folks in casual conversation, and I don’t want people finding out via the old rumor mill either. We are not hiding anything, and I don’t want it to seem that way, but like I said it’s kind of difficult to bring up in regular conversation too. This blog is as much about making our house a home as it is about our personal life.

I’d also be happy to hear from any of you who might have experienced something similar with your family. We are very positive, and sharing lifts us up and helps us learn more.

XO -Us Guyses

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in Gus, My Life

Master Bedroom : Before & After Reveal

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House
Yo. Finally I can say the bedroom is done! We now have a real grown up space that feels awesome to hang out in whether we are lazily waking up on a weekend morning or watching zombie shows at the end of the day. We love it. It took a looooong time, I know. That’s because it cost dough (aka cheddar, aka lettuce, aka stacks, aka skrilla, aka money) and projects had to be spread out so that we weren’t ever spending too much of our budget at one time. Get it? Jeff trusted me and let me go with the way more feminine wallpaper, but I think he actually likes it now. I’m pretty sure he’d say the pink dresser could take a hike, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. Anyways, it’s light peach Jeff, not pink, and thank you for just letting me go with it.

The space used to feel so dark (admittedly the black wall didn’t help, dur), I always thought it was just a room that moonlighted as a cave, but guess what, it’s not! Since lightening everything up, adding the wallpaper, accenting with light woods and furniture everything feels very bright and not remotely like a cave.

I took a hint from our recently made-over sunroom (connected to our bedroom). It’s a room that like the bedroom is light and bright but also full of color. When I was decorating it last spring I couldn’t resist a saturated coral rug and it looked so good against a sofa I had upholstered in dark blue. Following the sunrooms lead, I used that same color palette in the bedroom but just toned it down and used more muted version of colors. Instead of coral I went blush, and used blue sparingly in different shades found mostly in the wallpaper and bedding. I painted a lot of stuff white, used a lot of light unfinished wood and peppered in black accents. My style is slowly maturing and evolving. My love of midcentury everything is waning, I still admire it, but prefer it in small doses. I still love color, but have begun to used it as an accent instead of a rooms primary focus. A few years ago I would’ve never considered an upholstered sleigh bed and would’ve jumped at a modern platform bed in a heart beat. I am beyond inspired and semi obsessed with Scandinavian design and aesthetic. My favorite inspirational blog is My Scandinavian Home, a daily dose of amazing – that influence is showing though. Basically I’m refined as fuck now.

Anyway, here it is! I’ll source items throughout the reveal, you’ll see links below each of the images and I’ll share a few before photos as well. Let’s start with some photos of the tank found in the corner of the bedroom wall behind the paneling – it’s the thing that got this whole project rolling. Remember what it looked like before?

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

+++ sources +++
Ring Holder | Geo Planter

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House
Let’s talk about that credenza-y thing at the foot of the bed. It’s been used all over our house, at our loft it was in the entry way used as a catch-all, at our rental house it was a buffet in the kitchen, and for the last five years it’s been disguised as a dresser in our bedroom. I decided I’d give it a makeover. After years of love and abuse it had a leg that was about to fall off and it sagged in the middle. I painted the whole thing white, replaced the top with a slab of wood, added new legs including in the middle to prevent sagging and hid a flat screen tv inside the top of it. Guess what those drawers hide, my favorite tools – I like to keep them close. For more on the dresser makeover check out this post.

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House
As I was finishing up the bedroom I was left with a bit of problem. There was no more money to spend and we didn’t have any large artwork to hang on our big blank white wall. I did the most affordable thing I could think of. I ordered up the ever-popular engineer print for a couple of bucks. The image is a lake scene from our favorite cabin getaway, it was also used as part of my friends wedding invitations. I had the image blown up and printed 3′ x 4′. If you aren’t familiar with engineer prints they come on light weight paper and are printed in black and white. I needed more color than that, I took a spray bottle and watercolor paint, masked off a few areas on the print and sprayed on some color. Lastly, I had some scrap wood in my garage that I used to trim out the piece, which helped it lay nicely on the wall. I used some large bullnose clips (painted white of course) to hang the print on the walls. Temporary tolerable wall art for less than 25 bucks! We can keep it around until we’re really ready to invest in a large piece of artwork.

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

+++ sources +++
Dresser – Vintage | Bertoia Chair – Vintage

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

+++ sources +++
Mirror | Prints – Matt Scharenbroich

When my Aunt gave me this hand-me-down dresser it had seen better days. I loved the lines of it and could see it had potential. I spent some time sanding down the paint and then repainted it in Benjamin Moore ‘Peach Cloud’, I used the satin Impervo oil finish so that it would stand up to daily use. I really am pleased with how it turned out. More on that project over here.

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

+++ sources +++
Vase | Rug

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

+++ sources +++
Watering Can | B&W Pillow

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

+++ sources +++
Bulb Planter | Flower Pot | Table Lamp

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House
These vintage mirrors were discovered up in our attic, they look to me to be about the age of the house. It makes me happy to have them be apart of our bedroom and I’m glad they get to see the light-of-day again.

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House
Guys, I’m not gonna hide it. I’m pretty god damned proud of this bookshelf I built with my own two hands. I really love it, I love it in the bedroom, I love what it does for the space, and I love having one of our favorite collections integrated into our personal space. The details on the corner shelving project over here.

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House

+++ sources +++
B&W Print – Matt Scharenbroich | Photograph – Aaron Anderson

A Before & After Master Bedroom Makeover in a Century Old House
Thanks again to my pal Colz for helping style the bedroom and being the voice of reason. We work well together and she always makes photos of our house turn out so much better than I could’ve ever done on my own.

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in Around the House, Bedroom

Listen To It : No Cities To Love


Friends! I decided to just start a whole new post called “Listen To It” because I need you to listen to this new Sleater Kinney record if you haven’t already!! I started listening to Sleater Kinney at the tender age of 17, I was coming down from a severe pre-teen love of hardcore pop-punk and beginning to venture into the much mousier indie rock genre. Sleater Kinney fit the bill perfectly for what I needed to hear. I immediately loved the sound of this mighty all lady band, and have continued to ever since.

I preach to anyone who will listen that the S-K’s 2005 release, ‘The Woods’ as one of the greatest rock records front-to-back ever recorded! Listen to that too. Sleater Kinney is one of those bands that you hoped and hoped would reunite to make the album of the year. Then it happened! Dreams do come true. Honestly I haven’t been disappointed AT ALL. I’ve been listening to ‘No Cities to Love’ daily, loving it daily. 90′s guitar riffs with heavy, awesome, cool-lady vocals. I’m not a music critic my friends, so I’m just gonna say “Listen to it!”


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Partnering with Ace Hardware

Clark+Kensington Paint Colors
Yo, bros. I am not even lying when I tell you that one of my favorite places in the whole entire world is the neighborhood hardware store. I’ve said this out loud many times. I seriously love it there! My career ambitions after my kids both start going to school full-time are to work at the hardware store, among all of the wonderful things one might ever need or want. My local hardware store is an Ace, so when the marketing team for Ace reached out to me and asked me to be on the Ace 2015 blogger panel I couldn’t say YES fast enough. You may have noticed I don’t do a lot of sponsored posts around these parts. That’s because a lot of the sponsors I get presented with aren’t usually products that I use on the day-to-day and I’m a bad liar. But Ace, now that’s a different story. I was jealous when I saw Yellow Brick Home working with them last year. I wanted to know what I had to do to get in on that.

So what does this means for the blog? It means that Ace will sponsor a post once a month for 2015. Ace has a few pre-determined topics that I’ll involve in the posts, but really the content is all up to me. I can make it whatever I want, isn’t that great? The Ace post topic-to-do list reminds me of an art-school-college syllabus and I’m super excited about having to be creative and make the most of these posts. Plus because Ace is awesome there will be lots of cool giveaways for you guys. I’m so stoked!

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in Awesomeness

Not Killing a Fiddle Leaf Fig

Paint Colors, Ahh.
Rollover the above image for the BEFORE
Hey. So, I discovered something on the internet that has really gotten to me. This may be an indication that I’m getting super old and becoming naive to new things on the internet, but I just visited getoffmyinternets.com (GOMI) for the first time. I came across the ‘Decorating Bloggers’ section and I realized that some people really expect a lot out of the old internets, and get pissed at it and the writers of it without much hesitation or regard. Thankfully, no one was yelling at me – yet, but I saw a lot of good bloggers being ripped apart. Needless to say I felt very uneasy after perusing a few threads. I’m super sensitive to peoples opinion of me, especially because I always try to do the absolute best that I can do, and I have a bad habit of letting other peoples judgements get to me. I feel for fellow bloggers who get run through the wringer on sites like GOMI.

Anyway, I was planning on writing a post about my very inexpensive Ikea Fiddle Leaf Fig and how it’s flourishing nearly two years after bringing it home (mouse over the above image to see it in its infancy). BUT, after checking out that highly-aggro site, all I could hear was the internet trolls yelling at me about my dumb hipster tree and how I suck because doing anything that’s trendy is the worst, and obviously I am a horrible person because of it. Then I blasted T.Swifts ‘Shake it off‘ on repeat, and decided the haters were just going to have to hate. I’ve always loved having plants in my home, I love my Fiddle Leaf Figs. Yes, the first time I new it existed was after seeing it on the internet, but WHATEVER, I will continue to care for them and enjoy having them in my home.

I don’t have the worlds greenest thumb – I have to replace my Maiden Hair ferns about once every six months because they are sensitive bros, and they like to commit suicide if I miss a watering by a day or two. It kind of just goes with the territory, you have to be prepared to kill a plant every once in awhile. I’ve had really good luck with both my Fiddle Leafs but it took a lot of trial and error before I got the perfect care formula figured out. I wanted to share some of my tricks with you guys, and hopefully you won’t hate me for it, right?

4 Steps to Not Kill a Fiddle Leaf Fig

Location
I almost killed both of my FLFs within the first weeks of coming to my home. They are sensitive teens who are angst-y and emotional. Both my figs turned brown and dropped half their leaves immediately. I panicked, read the internet and realized they probably needed more sunlight and less water. I live in Minnesota and sunlight is hard to come by, especially in the winter months. I have both my Figs spending the winter in the sunniest room in my house, the east facing sunroom off of our master bedroom. This room only gets a few hours of direct sunlight in the morning and then indirect light for the rest of the day. Once I moved them to this space they really began to flourish. They stopped dropping leaves immediately. FLFs make new growth beginning in spring and continuing to early fall. Don’t worry if your tree isn’t growing after you bring it home in the middle of the winter, it’s not ready to yet. Just let it chill for the winter and be amazed at the frequency of new growth in the warmer months. Keep your trees away from dry radiators or drafty areas in the winter, and likewise air conditioners in the summer.

4 Steps to Not Kill a Fiddle Leaf Fig

Wipe Down Leaves
My tree always seems much more vibrant and happier after I give their leaves a good dusting. FLF leaves are huge, as you probably have noticed and because of their larger surface area, can collect a lot of dust. That dust is bad for the tree and can block a good amount of valuable light from getting to the plant. This plant needs light to live and be happy! Plus who wants a dusty old plant taking up space in their home? I wipe down the leaves about once every two months, or sooner if it needs it.

4 Steps to Not Kill a Fiddle Leaf Fig

Watering
Fiddle Leaf Figs like a chance to get a bit dry on the surface of their pots before needing to be watered. I’ve discovered that my trees like to be watered with a quart of water every Monday morning. A good rule of thumb is waiting to see their newest growth (on top) get a little wilted, then water. I like having a schedule though, because I am super anal. As you may have noticed I have never officially potted these guys, if it ain’t broke, ya know? In the summer time when the plants are growing I fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer – you should be able to easily find this at your local garden center.

So do you hate me because I have a plant in my home that other people also have? No? Good. So do you have one too? Have any tips or tricks you care to share? Maybe yours is from the land of blue and yellow like mine, how’s it doing?

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