Phase two of the rebuild has officially begun! We are adding a pool and finally finishing the backyard. Our kids are very excited(and so am I). Having grown up with pools in our backyards, when it came time to design our own, we wanted it to be modern and clean looking but we also want our children to use it.  I found myself gravitating towards rectangle pools as we browsed the internet. I have collected a lot of images over the years and used Pinterest to gather my thoughts. https://www.pinterest.com/mbpursell/pool/

Then came the kids’ feedback. All 4 kids had different demands. We settled on a something with height to jump off, a tanning ledge, spa and a slide.  How in the world to you make a modern looking pool that includes a slide? Well, we are going to try.

When you tell the pool guy you want a slide, in my experience, they either try and talk you out of one or they start talking about large boulders.  Our 10 year old is adamant about the slide so the suggestions of not having one it out of the question and our home will never go with a large boulder look, so that’s out too.  Trying to find a way to incorporate the slide without having to use rocks or boulders turned out to be a huge challenge. After meeting with several companies and pouring through images, we have finally come up with a solution that includes painted brick, a small grotto and a lot of dirt.  I am excited to see how it all comes together.

Pool design



“White House with Boxwoods”- that is the search term I used to research the “look” we wanted for our home 5 years ago. Today, the landscaping has mostly filled in and we have a white house with boxwoods but now it is not just a house, it is a home.




It’s still not totally finished.  We haven’t finished our basement how I would like to and we haven’t decided what we want to do with the back yard just yet but I still like looking at it when we pull up to the driveway each day!


Beveled Cypress Siding Paint is Porter Paint Soft Antique White in flat

Shutters are Enduring Bronze by SW

Front Door is Farrow and Ball #91 Blue Gray

Roof is Cedar Shake

Planters are from Restoration Hardware

Benches are from Hayneedle

Pendant is from Ballard Designs

Pathway and front porch is bluestone

Architect is Stephen Fuller

Main Floor Tour

We used a warm gray, neutral background palette.  Throughout our home, the walls are Benjamin Moore(BM) Revere Pewter and the trim is BM White Dove. On the main floor, we went with dark doors.  The color is Sherwin Williams(SW) Urbane Bronze.  Paint colors are so hard.  Revere Pewter looks different in every room because the lighting in each room is unique.  It goes with ANY color though.  Right now, we have a blue and gold color accents throughout the main floor and it looks great with that.  Upstairs, I have it mixed with pink and navy and it looks good with that too!  It is an excellent, neutral, warm color.

The dark doors are great.  WIth four kids, doors take a beating and often end up with hand prints and smudges on them.  The dark doors hide all of that!

Because the home was originally built in 1972, the ceilings are 9′. I refused to use flush mount light fixtures so I spent a great deal of time searching for light fixtures that are not flush mount that do not drop down too much.  The foyer light is from Circa Lighting.  It is the SOLEIL LARGE PENDANT and it has a 6.5 inch drop.  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/98094098110893089/

Artwork is from Ballard Designs and Sugarboo.

The family room is the central room of our home.  One of the design features I wanted were antique beams and our flooring contractor was able to locate some in Ohio that were pulled from an old barn.  They are awesome.  Again, refusing to limit myself to flush mount lights, I found another light from Circa Lighting that hangs above a large ottoman.  It is the MARGARITE IRON CHANDELIER. Circa has a gilded iron finish that I love.  The gilded iron finish looks great with gray.  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/98094098106485934/

Rug is from Pottery Barn- Bosworth printed wool rug- https://www.pinterest.com/pin/98094098114058660/

Ottoman is from Wesley Hall and covered in a faux ostrich fabric I found on Etsy.

Sofa is Wesley Hall- custom- https://www.pinterest.com/pin/98094098109294336/

Chairs are Clayton Marcus, custom- https://www.pinterest.com/pin/98094098109630983/

Teal stools are from Target

Antique Chest from Scott’s Antique Market

Deer wax painting from a local Atlanta artist because every proper Southern home needs a deer head on the wall and this is my version because I don’t hunt animals.

Wallpaper is Hygge & West and designed by a local Athens designer- https://www.pinterest.com/pin/98094098114058715/

Starburst mirror is Home Depot.

Our Keeping Room has lots of light.  The trim in this room is painted Revere Pewter and the walls are White Dove.  It is reversed and goes with the kitchen trim and cabinets.  I love sectionals for TV watching.  This room is used a lot by our family.  The ceiling is planked.

Lanterns are from Ballard Designs.

Sectional is Clayton Green, custom.

Pillows are custom.

Rug is Ballard Designs. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/98094098109026894/

Artwork is Cecel Allee, local Athens artist.- https://www.facebook.com/CecelAlleeArtist

Coffee table is Ballard Designs

Kid table is an antique my mother hand finished.



Breakfast area has tons of natural light.  The table is custom made by a friend. Wood chairs are vintage and blue end chairs were a find from Homegoods.

The ceiling light is from Ballard’s.

Shiplap how-to

When we were constructing one of the additions, I wanted this one to feel like it WAS an addition and I decided to use shiplap on the walls to create that effect of having it look like it was added on at some point.  There are many ways to do shiplap.  I prefer a more rustic look in both material and installation.  Here is how we brought it to life.

Prepare the wall

Prepare the wall

Take perfectly good walls and paint them black!  Yes, black.  You can purchase the cheapest paint you can find for this.  Why black?  Well, when you hang your boards, everything looks uniform because there is a black base underneath. By uniform, I do not mean straight or equal gaps.  I mean it looks like it is supposed to be that way.  I wanted it to look a bit rough and not perfect.

My husband would tell you we had perfectly good walls and then I paid someone to hang grade 2 wood on them.  That’s exactly what I did but with four kids, a dog and a cat, nothing wears better than shiplap on the walls.  You cannot hurt it!  You can ding it up and I will call it character.

There are a couple of things that you need to do to make it hang correctly besides the black paint.  You need proper baseboards.  You need squared off base boards that stick out further than the shiplap will.  You cannot install shiplap on a typical suburban baseboard or it won’t sit or look right.  Same thing with any crown moulding you may have.  It has to sit right beneath it or if you do not have any, you can add a piece on top of the shiplap to finish it off.

photo (16)

Once the boards are all up, you use a brush and paint them.  You cannot use a roller because the paint will not go on correctly.

photo (17)

And there you have it!  Ship-lap walls.  We used #2 spruce on our walls.  It is full on knots and character!

Dining Room

The dining room received the most basic updates.  We thought about doing away with it completely but I could never come up with another purpose so it is still with us.

It’s not totally finished but it is looking better than what it used to be which was this-dining

And after-

photo 4

photo 2 (1)

photo 5 (1)

Funny story about the fabric for the window treatments.  I went to Lewis and Sheron in Atlanta a while back to look for some fabric for various rooms.  I saw this floral and just fell in love with it.  I am usually NOT a floral kind of gal but the colors were right on and it just spoke to me.  When I was ordering it, the woman that worked there asked me if I had kids.  I told her I did and I had 3 girls.  She said with this fabric, I can tell this is a happy home.  I’m not sure if she is like a palm reader when it comes to fabric but she continued to tell me that my fabric choice meant our home was a happy home and whenever my kids were having a “moment” and needed to be reminded of how good they have it to simply stand them in front of the panel and that would turn their frown upside down.  She said you can’t help but be happy when you look at this fabric.  Sold me. I bought extra yards for pillows.  Who knew happiness exists in drapery panels?  Now you know!

Stephen Fuller Original- Preliminary Design Document

Stephen Fuller Original- Preliminary Design Document

I have received some inquiries about how to build, where to start, whom to call first, etc.  First, I am not an expert at all.  This is the first and as my husband will yell to you tell you, our last “build”.  Truth be told, I would do it again if I had a money tree in the backyard of the new house that I could shake the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks(you figure it out) of and be able to do what I wanted with no limits.  Not that everything has to be “expensive”.  I am all about a good deal and finding reasonable priced things(wait until you see my kids’ bathroom counters for a great “find).  Make no mistake though, money rules ALL when building.  I stopped calling what we did a “renovation” at some point because it didn’t do it justice.  This was a build with a gut job before.  It’s all new.

So, how does one begin?  Well, you must have a plan.  You know what happens if you don’t have a plan?  Bad things.  Bad, bad things.  You have to WANT to build.  My husband is a buyer. He will tell you that- over and over and over and over.  I’m fine with a “builder” label.  I liked to find pictures of what I loved, put my own spin on it and then create it.  It’s satisfying.

When we realized that we would have to build because we just could not find a house that worked for 6 people in the area we desired, I asked a friend that had recently knocked a house down and built how she started.  She had a HUGE notebook of pictures, all organized, of what she wanted, etc and I felt like I was 2 ft. tall.  I didn’t have a notebook!  I had 3.5 kids(Hudson was still cooking).  I don’t do notebooks.  But, I started collecting pictures.  It’s the BEST thing I could have done for myself.  Why?  Well, when you eventually bid your project out and you meet with builders, most of them are middle-aged (or older) men and I feel certain that my taste and theirs isn’t the same.  Specifics are key when building a home and if you don’t have a plan(the pictures, specifics), you will be building the home that the mid-life male builder thinks is “cool”.  Not cool.

Room by room, I started collecting pictures.  Pinterest was just taking off and nobody had “invited” me to Pinterest(loser for those that remember pinterest early days) so I didn’t use that until the house started or maybe just before. So, I used Houzz.com and decorpad to search for “ideas”.  My first love though was Southern Accents magazine(R.I.P., sniff, sniff). How could you be from the South and not love that magazine??  My kitchen, keeping room and family room are all due to a home I saw featured from Charlotte, NC that I read about in SA.  It helped formulate the look I was going for and it was a critical piece of meeting with the builder and being able to show him what I wanted to see at the end.  I had one builder use the term “Level 1 granite” when referring to the kitchen when we went over his proposal and I asked what that meant.   He told me like what Home Depot had but I wanted choice.  Choice is scary to builders because they do not know how to price choice.  That’s where the pictures come in and allowances are formed. You have to understand what the allowance represents and without doing some research, you’re at the builder’s mercy.

Figuring out whether you need to find your lot/house first or meet with the Architect first is like figuring out if the chicken or the egg came first.  I could argue either way but if you are looking in an area that doesn’t have much on the market, you have to secure a lot/house and you can’t do anything until you find where you want to be.

Your Architect is your leader.  You have to have a plan and the Architect has the master plan.  If you know you want to build, you can meet with the Architect, get started on a plan, get preliminary pricing and then find the lot.  We did the opposite.  We knew exactly where we needed to be for kids, school and found a house that we thought we could renovate.  Then, we went to a builder(not an architect) and were told that we needed to just knock it down and build a new home.  We would spend just as much renovating as building and not have a modern, new home to show for it.  If only it were that easy!

While waiting for our old home to sell, we ended up moving into Yellow House because I was due with a 4th child and I could not try to show the old house with a newborn and 3 other kids.  So, within one week, we made the decision to move, called the movers and moved into Yellow House.  A month later had our fourth child and sold our old house a couple of months later.  Living in Yellow House changed everything.  We hated every minute of it but we got to know the neighbors, we got used to looking at Yellow House and the homes around us and when we looked at the rendering of the home we were going to build, it started to seem wrong.  That’s when we decided to call an Architect.  I had always know the name Stephen Fuller because like any true Southerner I had a subscription to Southern Living magazine and when I heard that his kids went to our kids’ school, we gave him a call.  He pretty much walked in the door and told us that we should work with it and not knock it down.  That is what we were ready to hear.  We just needed someone qualified to tell us that was the right thing to do.

It was then that we started working with an Architect instead of a builder to create what we needed.  I gave him a laundry list of items that I wanted to have with the completed house and it was his job to make it work.  And he did.  He made it work.  People will gripe about their builders and complain about cost, etc but you never hear about the architect.  They are so instrumental with what you end up with, choose wisely is all I can say.  The architect stays with you throughout the entire process so you need to 1. Like him or her and 2. trust him or her.  I both liked and trusted mine.  I have said before that he was my phone a friend and he really was.

Besides choosing a good architect, the other advice I would give is to pick out what you want before you ever get a price from a builder.  The more information you can provide before bidding out your project, the better everyone is.  I have gotten questions from friends that are thinking of doing what we have done and when I ask them what they want with the new house, they say I don’t know!  You cannot go into a project not knowing what you want.  If you do, it’s back to the middle-aged man picking out what you want in regards to tile, counter tops, trim, flooring, etc. and that just doesn’t work.  You can’t blame the builder either because if you don’t have a plan, I can assure you that he does and it isn’t a pricey one!  It will be the least expensive option and if your taste is beyond that, you’re toast.

So, 1. Get an architect or find a lot and then get an architect

2. Pick out everything- plumbing, counter tops, tile, flooring, any finishes really.  Finishes are what you see and what you live with everyday.  If you don’t tell your builder that you want a marble countertop, he will price out granite.  That’s not his fault.  It’s yours.  Knowledge is power.  The more specifics you provide, the better the process will be and the more accurate the pricing you receive will be.

Hope that helps.  If I can pull this off with 4 kids, one newborn, you can too.  Surround yourself with good people.  Just like anything else in life, the people who you surround yourself with define who you are whether you like it or not.  Choose wisely.

One of the additions we added was an entire back hall that houses many of the daily required family functions including our laundry room, kitchen office, pantry, lockers and a powder bathroom.

I’ll start with the lockers, which as a mother of 4 small kids is one of my favorite things in the house because it hides mess and anytime you can hide mess with kids, that’s a big deal!  My main criteria for the lockers were that we needed one for each child and they had to have doors!  When I was giving our architect my criteria he looked up and told me- ‘Melanie, everyone knows you have kids.’ My response to him was- ‘but they don’t have to see proof with every inch of the house!’.  So, we went with doors.

Here they are finished-


The screen/mesh material for the cabinet doors was one of my best “finds”. It is difficult to find cabinet mesh other than chicken wire and it can get very pricey quickly.  I was lucky enough when using Houzz to come upon a photo that sourced the wire inserts on a picture I liked.  They came from http://www.brass-grilles-shop.co.uk/- Brass Grilles UK Online Shop.  They are completely online- you place your order with the correct measurements and they ship it to you. Shipping was very reasonable and their product selection is so dynamic, I love these guys.  I never spoke with anyone over there, I did everything via email and submission on their website.   I highly recommend them.  They sent the individual sheets directly to me and I handed them over to my cabinet maker.  The most unbelievable thing is they came FedEX Overnight!  I didn’t know they were delivered and I wasn’t looking for them because I figured it would take a few weeks to receive them and one day I checked my order status online and it said it had been delivered weeks ago!  I panicked and raced to the house to find them tucked away in the garage!

The metal inserts do a great job of hiding the “stuff” and the wire bins I found at the Container Store recently to keep the upper nooks organized.  We have way too many shoes.

Here is a closer up view of the metal inserts-


Here is a look at the bins-


Our family rules, courtesy of http://www.wisteria.com-


You enter the back hall from the kitchen.  This is the view from the kitchen and on the other side of the wall behind the lockers to the right of the clock pictured here is our pantry.




We did not have the space for a large walk-in pantry.  This layout actually works quite well because I have a lot of shelving, some pullout shelves and plenty of room to garb it up with snacks and dry goods.  I use the upper cabinets for storing things we do not use that often.  Opposite of the pantry is a little beverage station(I can’t stand the term “wet bar”) that houses wine, a beverage refrigerator and an ice maker.  It’s right by our backdoor which I love because we can run in to grab a drink or ice.  The walls are covered in shiplap. That’s what we call it because I have seen several names for the wood boards people use on their walls.  Ours is spruce and painted the same color as our trim.  It creates a farmhouse type of look and we used it in most of our back hall.  It is great for hiding handprints!

We added pocket doors between both the lockers and the pantry area to the rest of the back hall to be able to hide our laundry and kitchen office if and when we have guests over.  All of our doors on the main floor are painted dark.  It totally makes the look of the house and I love it!  Great for hiding hand prints too!

Here is the “beverage station” area opposite the pantry-


The lantern is from Shades of Light.  I ordered a few lights from there and they all worked and are in the house but the only thing that was disappointing with them is when you place your order, they do not tell you if your item is in stock.  The first thing I ordered it turned out was on backorder for weeks.  It was very upsetting to find out after your order that you can’t get what you wanted!  I called and they gave me a discount off the purchase so that made me feel better and I just waited for the item to arrive.

Closer up view-


The countertop is walnut and the sink is a hammered nickel.  The whole thing does what we need it to and works well for both wine and juice boxes!  What more can you ask for?

Want to see more of our main floor? Check out this latest post full of pictures! https://riverviewredo.com/main-floor-tour

Time to update!

Well, it’s been a long time since my last post.  We got distracted with life and pinterest! Lots of photos ended up on pinterest but I am going to try and go through and update what we ended up doing for each of the rooms.  I think we stopped with the exterior!

I will try to post pictures and info about each of our rooms so maybe it will help someone else that is thinking about going through this process. I used so many blogs, pinterest photos, etc when building our home. I was frozen without a reference photo.  It’s hard not to be able to give specifics to your builder and not be clear on exactly what you will end up with.  

For now, here is a photo of the completed house.



I love it.  I am thankful that we have this to call home.  David and I have always admired white, Greenwich, CT inspired homes and I feel like we accomplished it with ours.  Here are some additional exterior photos-



We were able to keep the cedar shake roof.  The middle section(front) stayed up throughout the build and our builder was able to remove and save the old shakes from the two side sections that were taken down to the ground and rebuilt.  They used the original shake on the front portion of the home when they put the roof back on and we added new cedar shake to the rear and sides and it has already the patina of the original shake.

The home is a shade of white by Porter Paints and the shutters are a brown/grey color by Sherwin Williams.  The front door is by Farrow and Ball- blue gray #91.Image

We enlarged the lower bluestone patio so we were able to include two facing benches which I love!  All of the boxwoods we requested too.  I picked up the house numbers from Home Depot and installed them myself!  The light is from Ballard Designs.  All of my friends know I love Ballards and frequent the outlet weekly but I had to actually order this one which was painful for me!




The planters I ordered from Restoration Hardware.  I saw them pictured with the door color and the bluestone patio on a website and loved them.  See, pictures help! The benches we procured from Hayneedle which is one of my new favorite online shopping sites!


One of my favorite little things is the light we chose to use on the garage side of the house.  Image

I spent many hours online looking at exterior wall lanterns.  There are many good looking lanterns.  These made me smile when I came upon them and the Liberty Bell look had an olden charm that spoke to me so this was the clear winner!


The rear of the home is perhaps the biggest exterior change.  We redid everything but kept the front true to its original build.  The rear of the house, however, got a complete overhaul.  We basically shaved off the back of the house and put an addition across the entire back.  Thanks for Stephen Fuller, our architect, it is beautiful and light-filled like we had hoped.

We painted all of the brick that remained and the brick that was added to match the house.  That is one of the easiest ways to update an older home- ugly brick? Paint it!

Lastly, the elevated patio which was one of the biggest nightmares to envision and create turned out to be both useful and pretty.  Peacock Pavers from Atmore, Alabama was our paver choice because it does not heat up, even in the full sun.  


That’s all for now.  I will start on the inside next!


I met our Architect, Stephen Fuller, at the house last week to go over cornice and other trim options and I jokingly told him that he was my “phone a friend” for the house. With a project the size of this one, I have my mom that is my go-to “phone a friend” when something goes wrong and I am ready to cry, I have my designer, Teresa Hamilton, that is my “phone a friend” for any interior choices and then I have Stephen Fuller, our Architect, that is my main “phone a friend” for anything to do with what the RIGHT thing to do for the house-  because I know he will give us his honest opinion without me asking him to be honest with me.  I appreciate that.

If you are not familiar with Stephen Fuller(he calls himself Steve but I have to stop myself from calling him the full ‘Stephen Fuller’ each time we speak and so I just use Stephen- I don’t call my brother Matt either.  He’s Matthew…I digress…

If you are not familiar with his work, I would describe it as simply classic and tasteful, done with a respect for the past.  I am a fan of an older, classic look and I think Stephen is the perfect fit for us and this project.

From his newly updated site – http://www.stephenfuller.com/ – “We must respond to modern lifestyles while respecting and celebrating all that is great about the past.” That’s exactly what we hope to accomplish with our home- it should be one that can function in a modern, purposeful manner but still stay true to where it began.

I liked him when we first met.  He soon made fun of our circumstances, living in that house the way it was and he was very easy to get along with.  He wants things done a certain way and throughout this process, he has provided guidance and foresight to make sure that we do not make any mistakes that affect the overall vision of the completed home.

When we met Stephen, we had called him to come to the house because we were unsure about knocking it down or if we could work with what we had and he didn’t hesitate with telling us that he thought we should work with it and that has brought us to where we are today. I think it is pretty cool to get to rebuild something that was just fine to begin with but if you had the chance to rebuild your house the way it should have been built to support today’s modern lifestyle- that’s what we are doing.

After chatting with Stephen, he goes to work on the preliminary design drawings and I think they are awesome to view.  It was like Christmas morning to open this up and look at what our house could become.  Below are just a few images of where we began before we get to formal plans and such-

Stephen Fuller Original- Preliminary Design Document

The drawings were simply awesome to look at and they make you really start to see where you will be at the end.  From here, formal plans are created, he helped organize bids and meetings with prospective builders and ultimately helped us end up with the right builder for the project, which is key.  He understands the building process and he guided us through the initial steps of how to get started with this.  I just love the design drawings though.  They are done by a true artist.  It’s amazing how talented some people are in this world.

Stephen’s been with us through the entire build to make sure it is all done to plan and we 100% recommend him and his services to anyone that has any building project they are looking into at some point whether it be new construction, a renovation or rebuild like ours!  If you check out his website- www.stephenfuller.com – you can see all the different types of projects he has been involved on and there are many to behold.

Friday Update

Friday Update