European trip and a German (Sh)mear!

The summer is going to quickly! June is almost over and 4th of July will be here before we know it.  We’ve had a great 1st month of summer.  The kids have already done tennis camp, basketball camp, and the girls are in a weekly cooking and sewing camp.  I left July open for traveling and family time so after this week we will have a break from staying too busy.  Speaking of traveling, we decided to take a leap and travel to Europe this summer with the kids!! I have never been to Europe and it has been a dream of mine for a long time. To say that I am excited is an understatement.  My hubby has had some changes with his job and he decided to take some time off this summer before he jumps back into the corporate scene.  We both agreed we may never have this time again with our family to travel the globe with no time limit.  We will be gone two weeks and plan on visiting London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.  I know it’s a lot of places, but we thought it’d be a good way to give us a little taste of each place and then we can always go back and visit our favorites.  We decided to tell the kids in a fun way by tricking them that on top of the reading challenge and fitness challenge we are doing this summer, they had to write a report on a city.  I told them that I had decided that we would pick from these cities.  You can imagine the push back I got from each of them.  The fact I would make them write a report in the summer was not something they were thrilled about.  So after the complaining stopped I told them that if they wanted to visit these places this summer they would need to learn about these cities.  It took a minute to register and then there were cheers and smiles all around.  It was a fun way to tell them and I really am serious about the report!  They have to write 5 pages and include things about the culture, food, people and all the places we want to visit.  I will do some more blog posts about getting ready for our trip.  Maybe some packing tips, an itinerary and how I will prepare myself for travel with kids overseas for 2 weeks!

You may be asking, how in the world are we restoring a home and going to be gone for 2 weeks? Believe me, I was worried about this too.  But as this process of remodel has gone on, I realized it might be nice to be gone for a while from it all.  It gets a little stressful and I find myself getting anxious about how long certain things take or things not getting done when I would like them to.  Up until last week I was feeling like our home would never be done.  The demo was going slow, we were waiting on permits and for our contractor to finish up some other jobs.  With that being said, this last week we made quite a bit of progress.  The permits got finalized, the plumber started replacing old pipes and putting in the new plumbing and they started framing.  I can actually see what the basement is going to end up like and it’s so refreshing.  I am super excited to see our vision come to life.  Plumbing fixtures got finalized last week and our cabinet plan for the kitchen should be done today.

Mike and I worked on a fun project this weekend in his office at Normandie Place.  There is a brick wall in this room.  It was originally the back of the house before they did the addition.  I didn’t want to frame it in and thought about painting it, but the brick isn’t the prettiest and has deep groves in it which I knew would suck up paint and collect dust.  A few months ago we were watching Fixer Upper and Jo-anna did a treatment on a brick wall called a German smear.  We both loved the look and so I got online and figured out how to do it.  We spent all day yesterday working on the wall and after a lot of sweat, sore bodies and dried out hands we finished it.  We both are so happy how it turned out.  It has already brightened up this dark room and given it so much character.  I thought I would share with you today how this whole process went. (Sorry the pictures aren’t great, the lighting in this room is tricky!)

First up the supply list:

White mortar ( I found this in the tile isle at Home Depot.  It took about 4 bags to do the entire wall)

large sponges (we used 2-3 of these)

2- 5 gallon buckets


spray bottle

spatula and mortar spreaders

drill and stirring drill attachment

Step 1:

Clean and prep the wall of any nails, dirt, cob webs, etc.brick wall

Step 2:

Mix mortar with water in a 5 gallon bucket.  I’d say we used a 70:30 ratio of mortar to water.  We mixed this will the drill and the attachment unit it was the consistency or waffle batter. mixing mortar

Step 3:

Spray brick with water and get it nice and damp.  It is best to work in small sections.  We worked as a team on this.  I would spray, Mike would smear on mortar and then I would go back over it will a tool to smooth it out and get any excess off that I could.mortar on wall

Step 4;

Let the mortar set for about 10-20 minutes and then take wet sponge and wipe off even more of the mortar until the brick is exposed and you get the desired look you want.brick and mortar

I have to tell you that this is a super messy project.  If you are doing this in your home that has carpet and furniture in it, you will want to cover everything with tarp.  The mortar is messy and drips off the wall and as you are using the sponge the water  kind of goes everywhere.  We obviously didn’t have to bee too careful as the room we were working in is getting a total face lift , but we were sure messy when we finished.wall with french doors


finished wall


so happy we're done


I'm a mess

I can’t wait to see this room finished.  This was a fun project to work on together and the final product was definitely worth it.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Let me know what your favorite spots are in London, Paris, Amsterdam or Brussels.  I would love some feedback from more experienced travelers.


Normandie Place Update – Stop and Smell the Roses

Hey guys! I’ve been a busy girl over here trying to finish off the school year. My kids aren’t out for another week, but let me tell you that we are so ready for summer break! My kids moved to their new schools about 6 weeks ago and so I have been driving them to and from school about 25 minutes each way.  Needless to say I am in my car like my whole life these days! I am ready to settle in to summer and enjoy relaxing days by the pool and be living on a non-schedule for a few months. My kids are at ages that I really do enjoy having them home.  Of course, we have the bickering and the mess, but they are old enough now to help when I need them and solve some of their own fights.  I finally feel like I’m not playing referee all the time, and its so nice!

I’ve also been working on the patio at Normandie place and trying to get it spruced up for some backyard parties this summer.  The yard is in full bloom and is getting so beautiful!back patio The last homeowner left an old little bistro set and if you know me I love a good DIY project.  There was no way I could throw it away and I knew with a little paint I could rescue it and make it pretty again.  Unfortunately, that project isn’t quiet complete, but will be soon, so I will wait and show the reveal of that later on the blog.  You can check updates on my Instagram.  Follow me @honest_harm.

Most importantly I’ve been spending a lot of time planning out my new kitchen.  We are actually met with our friends at Mountain Land Design today to pick out appliances.  They have a great show room and if you live in the Salt Lake area I would highly recommend them.  They have professional staff who can work out design layouts and find exactly what you need.  I thought I’d highlight a few pieces I have been looking at.

I love this stove because of it’s large griddle.  We had one at our last house and we used it almost every day.  It is so convenient to cook eggs, pancakes, and  bacon. We used it for grilling veggies and chicken too.  I haven’t quite decided if I will just get the range top or the whole stove.
(Image from Subzero-wolf)
How gorgeous is this Miele built-in coffee maker?  I love my coffee! This machine does it all.  Grinds the coffee, makes cappuccinos, espressos, and latte’s.
(image from Miele.com)
The other thing on my list is large refrigerator.  I had the luxury of have two fridges at my last house, but I will not have two at this one.  So I need a nice big fridge to fit all the food for  our family of 6. The Subzero fridge I’m looking at comes in different dimensions that you can customize to your space with a fridge and freezer combo.  I love the shelfs and storage drawers in it too.
A few other musts are a wine cabinet, ice maker, and of course a dishwasher.
So, as you can see I lots of decisions to make in the next few weeks.  It’s exciting and a little overwhelming all at once! Let me know if you have any of these appliances and if you like them.  Or if there is something else you think I must have, let me know that too.
I’m so grateful to at least have the backyard to spend the summer in because the house is quite a disaster right now! I can’t wait to have it all finished.  But I guess for now I will enjoy the beautiful roses that are blooming in my yard.  Each day they get better and better.  We all definitely need to take time and smell the roses!Rose
Have a great day!



Normandie Place “Before” Pictures (Part 3)

Well friends, Normandie place is moving right along.  I’m really hoping to have demo complete in the next few weeks.  We are going to meet with cabinet designers this week and get going on the layout for my kitchen and master bath.  I’m excited for this part of the renovations and feel like I’ll finally get to use my design abilities a little bit!

The last of the “Before” pictures I’m posting today are of the basement.  I think this part of the home needs the most work, especially when it comes to HVAC and the electrical.  It is a total nightmare down there and once we can get all new wiring and vents it will look likea night and day difference.  This area is going to be the 3 girls bedrooms and then we’ll have a nice size family room, some storage closets, wine cellar and laundry room on this level.

The basement stairs are tight, but we’re hoping to open up the ceiling a little bit. I love the old window in the stair well.

basement stairs

This will be Sophie’s room.  Were hoping to level the floor and remove any piping that runs through here.  We will use an adjacent hall closet and open it up into her room for a closet and under stairs reading nook.



This will be Avery’s room.  We have to move a door and open up her closet to create a little more space for her.

averys -closet



This original half bath we are removing  all together.  It will end up being the hallway and we will be moving their bathroom into an existing large closet.




The family room is nice and bright white, but needs some love.  We will be removing the vent, the window coverings and the whole fireplace wall.  I haven’t white decided about the white bead board yet.  What do you think?




This is going to turn into a nice little wine cellar.  I’m thinking of adding some brick and shelving in here.


The “hot tub” room  kind of creeped us out because the hot tub had been filled in and it had a very musty smell from the years of humidity in this room.  I overlooked all that and knew it would be a great bedroom for Brooklyn.  It’s a nice size and will have a great walk-in closet for her.





This is the HVAC I was talking about.  The unit is huge and takes up most of the hall way.  We will condensed all this and add a laundry room in this space.


This closet is going to be the girls bathroom.  It will have enough room for a tub/ toilet room and then a double sink vanity.




So, now you’ve seen the whole house! I know some of you may think we’re crazy! I know Mike thought I was when we first went to look at it.  I just had this vision the first time I saw it of how wonderful it will be all restored and new. I can’t wait to finish raising our children in this home and bring it back to life.

Thanks for stopping by today! Please comment below and let me know what you think!


Kitchen Design Inspiration

How many kitchens have I pinned on Pinterest or put into my Houzz folder, you ask? Oh way too many to count!! I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed with deciding on what I want in Normandie Place. The options are endless and I feel like I have a style I tend to go towards, but then I’ll see something different and it throws me off a bit.  I’m hoping to use my blog to throw ideas off of you, my readers! And you can give me your opinions. I’ve been focusing my attention on the kitchen as I feel like this is the one of, if not the most important room in the house.  This really will be the hub for everything and is very close to the entry.  I definitely need to brighten and open up the space.  The ceilings are a bit lower in areas and so I want to give the illusion of it being grander than it really is.  I definitely will be adding white bright colors, but I for sure want lots of beautiful wood to add warmth and texture.  I’ve added some pictures of some of my favorite kitchens I have found so far.
I love this one because of the exposed painted brick and the open shelving.  Also, the wood floor is beautiful and the marble counter tops just pull it all together.
Kitchen Projects

The first thing that caught my eye in this kitchen is the lighting.  Those hanging lights are so gorgeous and give off such a warm pretty hue.  I also love the color of the island and the subway tile backsplash.

Broadmoor Kitchen with Beverly Bradshaw Interiors

Photo found on www.Houzz.com

What do you think of this white stove? I think it is beautiful and makes quite the statement in this kitchen.  I also love the shiplap ceiling.

Allikristé Coastal Custom Kitchen
The two elements that caught my eye in this space are the island and the ceiling.  I love the island color and also the detail on the sides, it  adds so much charm and character to the kitchen.  And the ceiling is just beautiful.  I think it adds height and brightness in the room.
Custom Kitchens
I think this kitchen may be my all time favorite.  Everything about it is beautiful.  The reclaimed wood on the wall and island add so much warmth to this space and also add those earth tones.  The lighting is gorgeous and doesn’t take over the space.  The Cypress wood on the cabinets and hood is so beautiful done with just a clear stain.  And of course, I love the open shelving too.

(image from: http://www.oldseagrovehomes.com/blog)

Wouldn’t you agree that all of these kitchens are so gorgeous? They have so many great elements I feel like I can incorporate into my own kitchen. Let me know what you think and which ones are your favorites! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I hope you’ve found a little inspiration for your home too! Have a great day!!


Normandie Place “Before” Pictures (Part 2)


As you can see Honest Harm got a make over!! I really love how it turned out and I am grateful to Designer Blogs for making it so beautiful, I hope you like the new updated look!

It’s a rainy, dark morning here today, so I am blogging and sipping coffee and dreaming of warmer weather.  I actually head out of town tomorr0w on a little Girls Trip to Florida, and with all the rain and cold temps this week, I am ready to go!! I’m meeting up with 8 of my dearest friends from our days of dental school in Ohio.  These girls are like sisters to me and I am so excited to spend a few days basking in the sunshine with them.

Before I go, I thought I would share some more pictures of  Normandie Place. Who’s Excited?!?  Today I am going to share the second floor with you.  This level includes, a bedroom, bonus/game room, a bathroom and the master bedroom, bath and closet.

We will start in Cayden’s room.  This room is mostly in need of  cosmetic updates.  New electrical, windows, paint and moldings.  We did open up his closet to give hime some more space.upstairs-bedroom

Next,  we walk down the hallway into the bonus room.  This room is long and is essentially two rooms.  The second room was part of the addition and also leads out on to a balcony/deck.  We are hoping to open up the wall that separates the two rooms to make it one big room.  We are going to incorporate a dry bar where the closet is and hopefully fit our pool table, couch and a tv in this room.









Bonus -room-insideThe hall bath is across from this room.  I plan on gutting this bathroom and making it functional and more Cayden’s style since this will be his bath.upstairs-hall-tub



The last room in the upstairs is our master bedroom and bath.  This room is almost set up like two rooms.  You walk in to a bedroom and then it drops down into another room and the bath.  We knew the minute we saw this bathroom that we had to change the whole layout.  It is tiny!! So we will make the first room our bedroom and the second room is getting all opened up to be a master bath suite.  It will include a free standing tub by the window, vanity, shower, toilet room and big closet.  The view from this room is really beautiful too.  I thought it’d be a perfect place to soak in the tub.master-bedroom-window-seat


First bedroom





master-bedroom-window seat

second bedroom

Master closet






master-bathMaster bath

So that is it.  It’s crazy how even just doing the demo and opening up this space has changed things already! Speaking of demo, we are getting close to it being done.  I really hope we can start construction in a few weeks.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post today! Feel free to share with friends and come find me on Instagram if you haven’t already! Have a great one!



Feelin’ the Love

Well Hello! Happy Tuesday to you! Thanks for stopping by my blog.  I really appreciate all my loyal friends and followers and the support you give me. So, Thank you!

Speaking of friends and support, I think I may have the best new neighbors in the whole wide world.  We haven’t even “moved” into the neighborhood on Normandie Circle yet and I already feel so loved and special. We were told when we went to look at the house what a great neighborhood it was, and I already know that is true. From the minute I met Angela, next door,  I knew we would be fast friends.  She loves to throw parties like me, they have 4 kids like us and the whole family is so easy to talk to.  They hosted a super great “Welcome to the Neighborhood” party last night for us.  They invited neighbors from the area that had kids close to our kids ages.  It was so nice to meet so many different families.  Everyone was so genuine and friendly.  It was a great night of new beginnings and another great start to our new adventure.

I thought I’d share all the cute details of the party and show off the talents of my new friend, Angela.


new friends



Yummy treats were had by all.  The presentation was so sweet.  She has such a talent for mixing patterns, layering all different textures and colors.


Gorgeous flowers that I got to take home.  How cute is the Home Sweet Home tags in the flowers and on the dessert table.


She hangs these adorable banners all throughout her home and I love them. She added one for the party that matched the tags and  said home Sweet home!


Here are just a few of the cute kids that came to meet my crew.  When we got to the party I heard Brooklyn say to Avery “that she was just going to stay by Avery all night”.  Well that lasted about a half hour and by the end of the night they were all in the living room laughing and joking around.  Music to my Ears!!


These cute little “get to know your neighbor cards” were on the front table when people walked in.  They filled them out with their info and some of their favorite restaurants, places to shop and things to do in the area.  I thought this was such a fun and useful idea.  These will definitely come in handy and was a great way for me to put faces with names after we had met everyone.



As you can see we were completely spoiled at our Welcome Home party! I was a little speechless that someone could go out of their way this much to make us feel so loved and welcomed.  I am so grateful for good, kind people in this world.  I know the next chapter of our journey is going to be a great one and has definitely started off on the right foot.

Angela, I know you will probably read this, and I do want you to know how amazing you and your family are! We couldn’t have picked better neighbors! Thank you!

And to my readers, thanks for taking the time to stop by! Have a great day!






Normandie Place “before” pictures (Part 1)

I just got back from a fabulous week away with my family to Newport Beach.  We had the best time and stayed in a great little place right on the beach.  If you ever plan a trip there I would recommend checking out Doyles Beach and Boardwalk.  I will be honest and say from a design perspective it was lacking a bit and could use a few updates, but if your looking for location, this is the place!! Seriously steps from the beach and the Newport Pier.  Perfect for a family get away!!IMG_9713

Anyways, we stopped by our Normandie fixer upper and to my surprise quite a bit of demo had been done, which of course made me one happy girl!!  So since the project is under way I though it was time to share my “before” pictures with you all. Today I will take you on a tour of the main floor. I have to apologize that some of the lighting on the pics aren’t great, but hopefully good enough for you to get an idea of the house. Now remember my last post, (which you can find here), that I said the house needs lots of work.  But I think you’d agree, that’s what makes a fixer upper that much more exciting!  I know the transformations will be awesome and I can’t wait!

Lets start in the front entry, welcome!Entry

The stairwell- how gorgeous is this window?  We plan to open up the stairwell and replace with a beautiful railing.  I feel like it will draw more attention to this grand window and bring light into the entry and upstairs.









The living room, which is right off the entry- I love the windows with the shutters.  I’m planning on revamping the fireplace.  This room has a beautiful curved  ceiling in it with great crown molding.  There is a bay window that looks out to the front yard and also has french doors leading into the den.IMG_9383


Living room


The den is one of my favorite rooms.  It has the original brick on one side of the room as this was part of the add on to the house.  I plan on keeping the brick and painting  it.  The ceiling and beams will also stay but get fresh paint and stain.  I talked about dutch doors on my instagram.  (You can follow me at honest_harm to see more pictures and updates.) I love this door and I think it adds so much charm to this room.




From there we go into the dining room and kitchen.  Right now there is a wall dividing these two rooms, but we plan to open the space up to make it one big room. It is a nice size room with french doors leading out to the deck.



dining room


And here is my beautiful kitchen, well, it will be beautiful when I am done with it! It is just dated and needs lots of attention.  I think we will be adding some windows to make the room feel brighter and bigger.




The last area on the main floor is the mud room and half bath.  This area was the original kitchen.  It is a great space for a mud room and desk nook, but I can’t imagine cooking in this space. We plan on incorporating the pantry, mud room and desk/study area for the kids in this space.  It has a side door leading to the driveway and garage and also a half bath.





mud room


Well there it is! I hope you have enjoyed the tour of this 1920″s fixer upper.  I will be posting part 2 & 3 later on this week so check back to see the rest of the before’s.  I would love to get any advice or ideas, so please make a comment below and let me know what you think!

Thanks for stopping by!





As you can see my blog posts have been …well non existent.  Life has had some major changes for our family the last little while.

We moved into our home about 4 years ago.  I have to say this home was the home of my dreams. Cyprus House  While Mike was in dental school I couldn’t wait to be done and start “living life”.  Six years after being back in Utah we bought our home in Highland.  It was a short sale and took us 7 months to get into, but it was worth the wait.  It was gorgeous and everything I had ever wanted.  A huge theater room, walk out basement, rooms for each of the kids,  A workout room with a sauna, and the kitchen was a chefs dream.  I was beyond thrilled to be living in this house.  After a few years of being there Mike and I realized how much work goes into living in a big home.  7500 sq. feet is a lot to take care! With 4 kids, a dog, a huge backyard, laundry, carpooling…. you get the picture, right? I decided something had to change.  This “dream home” was taking so much of our time we didn’t have the energy to enjoy life like we had hoped.  Don’t get me wrong, we had so many great parties at this house.  The entertaining options were endless.  I loved having guests over, being able to host friends and family to come stay, but when it was just our family there I felt like we were working and trying to maintain everything.  We could go a whole day and not see each other.  Kids would be downstairs, I’d be upstairs in the kitchen and Mike would be outside working.  If I didn’t make it a point to gather together we wouldn’t have to converse with each other at all.  This wasn’t what I wanted for my family.  I felt like this big house was separating us and causing distance between us.  

We both decided we wanted more out of life.  We needed diversity, adventures, something that felt more like “us”.  Some other changes came about and we decided it was time to sell the house and move on to a new chapter.  So last week we left that beautiful home for the last time. saying goodbye It was a hard day for all of us.  Mike and I asked ourselves many times if we were crazy for doing it.  But we both kept going back to our gut feeling of needing a change.  But change can be so hard while you are going through it.  I know our decision is a good one, but when your kids are sobbing because they are leaving a home they love and stepping into a world of unknown it’s easy to second guess yourself.

Back in January we started looking for homes closer to Salt Lake.  I knew that we wanted something a bit smaller, but we didn’t really have a specific area or style we were going for.  Mike stumbled across a listing in Salt Lake in the Harvard Yale area.  If you aren’t familiar with this area it is a beautiful neighborhood with tree lined streets, beautiful 1920’s brick homes,and so much character and charm.  I’ve always loved it up there.  Actually a year ago I was at a volleyball tournament for Brooklyn at East high school and was driving through this area and I came home and told Mike that this is the area I’d like to be in.  But I knew the homes were pricey and it kind of felt like I’d be dreaming to ever think I’d live there.  So fast forward a year and Mike finds this home on the market.  I fall in love with it instantly! Yes, it needs a lot, I mean A LOT of work and yes, it will take some time, but will it be worth it? Most definitely! Mike was much more skeptical of taking on this big of a project, so there was some convincing involved.

I’m happy to say that we closed on the home last week!Normandie house We will start demo soon and construction in May.  I am so excited to share with you guys all the before and afters, because they will be incredible transformations.  So check back often and also follow me on instagram at honest_harm for lots of fun images.

We always hear that life brings many changes,  some good , some bad. Many times unexpected or not what we thought we had in our plan.  I thought we would be in Highland for many years, but I believe there are bigger and better things in store.  I truly feel that it’s not about the “house” that makes it feel like home.  It’s about the people inside the house that create a “Home” with love, acceptance, kindness, laughter, making memories and feeling at peace every time we walk through the door.  This is my wish for this new house that we will create and that my children will always feel at home whenever they think of Normandie Circle.

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