Happy Friday! It’s been a whirlwind week after closing on our house, starting work on the floors, and trying to prioritize which projects we want to take on first. Will and I both keep pinching ourselves that we’re about to move into this house and are so excited about making it our own over the years to come! It’s been fun to have you all share in our excitement now that the cat’s out of the bag… I hope you’re all ready for lots of decorating and renovating posts because I can’t think about anything else besides our baby and our house these days!

design darling friday q&a

1. Are you planning to do a complete remodel of your new home or keeping some of that dreamy charm?

Keeping the charm for sure! I’m planning to share a list of future projects in a post next week, but any renovations we undertake will be to update specific rooms (like the kitchen and bathrooms) as opposed to gutting any portion of the interior. We fell in love with the bones of the house so the overall layout and style will stay the same. 

2. What’s your first BIG project for the new house?

Everything feels like a big project to us since we’ve never owned an older home before! Right now we’re ripping out carpets and sanding and staining the hardwood floors. There’s also a wall in the master bedroom that we’re hoping to bump out as soon as possible — right now the space is divided into a tiny bedroom and an equally sized sitting room and we’re planning to make the bedroom a bit bigger and turn the sitting room into a walk-through closet. We’re prioritizing that as our first construction undertaking while we save up to do bigger projects like renovating the kitchen and bathrooms down the road.

3. How does Will feel about the longer commute from Darien vs. Greenwich?

He’s definitely a good sport about it (and he’s found a way to make the most of his commute as he shared in his guest Q&A a few months ago!). Obviously an incremental ~20 minutes a day isn’t ideal, but he’s equally excited about our new house, being close to my parents, and sending our kids to the schools my siblings and I went to growing up!

4. Do you have a color scheme picked out for the baby’s room in your new house?

Yes, I shared a few sneak peeks on Instagram stories (saved to the decorating highlight) but we’re planning to install white beadboard and hang this Quadrille wallpaper above it. We have this crib and a variation on this changer coming in but I still need to find a glider or swivel chair I love — I’m hoping we can move into the house and get the first two pieces in place so I can get a better feel for what we have room for. If you have one you love, I’m all ears!

5. How would you decorate a room for a baby girl? It would be fun to see your perspective on that sex!

I was convinced we would have a girl first so I’ve given this some thought! I might not have gone with such a bold blue statement wallpaper but I doubt I would have used a ton of pink either — I’m just not a super girly girl and I want the nursery to feel in keeping with the style of the rest of our home. So a baby girl’s nursery would have probably been a little more neutral with more color brought in with artwork (like this print or this one) instead of making the wallpaper the main attraction. That said we’re hoping to have several more babies in this house so I’m hopeful that we’ll still feel good about all the blue and white whether our next baby is a boy or girl! 

6. Any tips for first-time homebuyers or saving up for a house?

We have a savings account where we deposit any larger amounts (a year-end bonus for Will or income from a sponsored campaign for me) and make smaller automatic transfers to that account from our checking account every two weeks. It’s been so rewarding to see that account grow that it really made us think twice about other purchases we were considering in the time we were saving up for a house (and baby!). In terms of starting a house hunt, my best advice is to set a maximum budget and stick with it, to look at as many houses as you can (online and in person!), and to keep an open mind about what your top priorities might be. We realized over the course of several months that we cared more about a home we could renovate and grow into over the next 5-10 years than a newer build where we’d be tight on space as soon as we have a second baby. It’s a stressful process and unexpected hurdles are bound to come up, but I’m a big believer that you will wind up exactly where you’re supposed to be! 

7. Does your mom have any tips for growing hydrangeas? I’m always struck by how great yours look on Insta stories!

I will say hydrangeas grow relatively easily on Nantucket and it probably depends a lot on climate but here’s what she had to say: Thank you! Hydrangeas want early morning sun and part shade later in the day. They do best in rich, porous soil. We have lots of sand in our soil on Nantucket and that helps with the porousness. Hydrangeas are also acid-loving plants, particularly the blue variety that we have outside our home. The higher the pH of the soil, the bluer the flower will be (and the more alkaline, the more pink!). I usually feed ours with a product called Holly-Tone in May and July. I’ve also heard that eggshells and coffee grinds can increase acidity if you’re a more organic gardener, but the Holly-Tone has always worked well for us! 

8. Do you have any suggestions for a “mom” bag (or tote I could use as a mom bag) that doesn’t look diaper bag-esque?

I’m planning to order a couple L.L. Bean boat and tote bags with baby’s monogram (either medium or large — can’t decide!) and these inserts to organize his on-the-go essentials. If you’re looking for something more luxe, I think Goyard totes are a practical and stylish choice. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on this in a few months! 🙂

9. Which prenatal vitamins do you take?

I’m taking these Nature Made vitamins that I started taking before I got pregnant, but I’ve heard from a few poeple who don’t love the ingredients list so of course talk to your doctor before deciding what’s right for you! I’ve also heard good things about Ritual vitamins but I haven’t tried them personally and definitely don’t consider myself an expert on the subject.

10. Is there anything getting you anxious as baby’s due date approaches?

I honestly feel a lot better now that we’ve closed on our house but yes, we have a lot to do before the end of September! I’ve had to stop looking at some of the pregnancy checklists telling me I should already have babyproofed our house or washed all our newborn clothes because they were making me feel so behind — I know the most important things will get done in due time (ha!) and it’s okay if other things fall by the wayside. I weirdly haven’t been super anxious about labor — I think if anything I’m more worried about breastfeeding, recovery, sleep deprivation, and all the things I can’t really prepare for until he’s actually here.

9 thoughts on “FRIDAY Q&A

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  1. FWIW, I thought a longer commute was going to be doable for me and it’s been a nightmare (3 hours round trip on a bad day, usually 2.5 hours). If Will can get a similar job closer to home, you definitely won’t regret it. That being said, if he’s taking the train, that’s probably a lot more civilized than my bus to subway commute with multiple choke points and transfers.

    Congrats again on the new house! Can’t wait to see the before and afters – it looks like it has great bones.

  2. I’m so happy for you, Mackenzie. I’ve been reading your blog for 6+ years and have since had three baby boys of my own! It’s making me smile to read your thoughts and plans on welcoming your precious one! 💙

  3. as someone who did not find out what gender my twins would be in advance of giving birth – you do not need to worry about being behind in regards to washing clothes (i had like 4 onesies in advance) or baby proofing. all you really need at the beginning is a car seat to get the baby home and a safe place for the baby to sleep. and diapers and formula/breastmilk.

  4. As far as a glider – I have the Austen rocker from Society Social and it is my favorite piece of furniture in my house. It’s so well made, and even though the fabric I chose has a white base, it cleans up easily and doesn’t have any stains (impressive with an infant). Highly recommend.