Home Tour in the Foothills of California

Are you familiar with Jenna Sue Design Co. Blog? Jenna’s has been my favorite blog for several years. While everyone else was fawning over YHL, I was firmly in the Jenna Sue camp.  

A graphic designer by trade, Jenna has an amazing online store. Actually, that’s how I originally discovered her blog. I bought the cute “S” sign that hangs in our hallway and then several years later, gifted my husband with our wedding vows printed and framed.


Over a year ago, Jenna and her husband, Brad moved from Florida to a small town in the foothills of California. With the help of her realtor mother, they purchased a 2,500 sq foot home abounding with potential. I loved Jenna’s old house in Florida. It was beachy – with lots of white and turquoise but since moving to California, her style has matured and evolved. She is now a master at creating spaces that simply ooze “rustic, cozy farmhouse chic”.

The rustic thing was never my thing until I started to see how Jenna was transforming her home. Lets just say that I am in love with every single space that she has so far got her hands on. Am I sounding like a fangirl yet? I’m not going to lie, I have serious house envy and a serious girl crush on her styling & DIY abilities!

Are you ready to see some pictures? Grab something to wipe the drool off your face – trust me, you’ll need it!!

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

What an adorable entryway! It’s small yet perfectly functional and certainly welcoming. Notice the white planked wall treatment to the left of the picture. Jenna has done this throughout her home and it adds such a wonderfully clean, rustic touch.

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Similar to how I gave my closet doors a makeover, Jenna refreshed this formerly plain closet door with some wood and stain. 

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

The kitchen is my favorite room in the house. There’s so many things I must point out to you. Firstly, look up and notice the white planked ceiling with exposed beams. ALL DIY! Can you believe it? Those beams truly look like they are original to the space. The beadboard ceilings complement the farmhouse sink and white subway tile perfectly while the ORB hardware and faucet break up the gray and white.

Have you  noticed the hardwood floors yet? They are Armstrong Shell White Walnut Engineered Wood. Jenna said they are a bit more gray than advertised on the website but I have to say that they look amazing installed. 

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

The cabinets are Kraftmaid brand (available at Lowes) and the color is Grayloft. Aren’t they fab? I usually only like white cabinets but with the combination of the subway tile backsplash and white quartz counters, Jenna has won me over.

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Can you believe this is what she started with? Wowza!

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

This built-in pantry is another clever DIY using IKEA pax closets.

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Isn’t subway tile so timeless? I’m so glad that it’s “fashionable” again – not that it ever really went out of style! But 30 years from (or 100 for that matter!) you won’t look back and regret it. 

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Now, let’s talk about this beautiful dining table. Looks expensive right? Maybe $2,000 or so? How about some DIY action and $130 in materials??!? Cray-cray! Clearly,  Jenna inherited her carpenter father’s genes. 

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Isn’t the bar area amazing? You’ll see below that the same stacked stone backsplash is used in the living room. I think repeating these types of elements is what helps make this the design in this home so cohesive. You’ll see the subway tile, planked walls, beams and beadboard ceilings repeated. 

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

 Jenna does such a beautiful job accessorizing in all areas of her home, too. Every little detail is just perfect, from the dining room table runner to the signs on the bar to the floating reclaimed wood shelves.

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

The living room is a wonderfully bright, airy space with large vaulted ceilings. The fireplace was refaced with the same stone as the bar area and a rustic mantle was added. Soft furnishings add warmth and create a very cozy and inviting space. Isn’t that pouf to die for?

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Jenna used plans from Ana White to build this gorgeous storage unit/sideboard. She changed it up by adding beadboard to the cabinet doors. The shade of gray she chose to paint is the perfect finishing touch.

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

*Sigh* Is this a magazine photoshoot or what?! What a beautiful vignette!

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

The planked walls along with a beadboard ceiling and those beautiful beams continue into the master bedroom where Jenna has chosen a darker, but equally stunning palette. 

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Once again, this room is full of DIY projects, from the IKEA pax closets, to the charging station next to the bed and my favorite part – the wall treatment. I’ve seen this wall treatment in gray in several other blogger homes too and I’m really digging it. The white ceilings, light colored floors and light streaming into the room helps from making it feel dark.

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

How amazing is this view? I’m jealous of anyone who gets to wake up to that every day!

Now on to the laundry room. Prepare to be amazed!

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Pick up your jaw! I know, it really is THAT gorgeous! Is it weird that I want to live in here? 

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Not that I would expect any less but every last detail is perfect in this laundry room and it has even more of a rustic flair than the other rooms in the house. The DIY projects here include the barn door, installing the tile and backsplash as well as some beautiful floating shelves above the counters and in the storage room.

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

This room had a crazy makeover. A weird little storage room to begin with, it was taken back to the studs and the floors dug out to make more head room. The washing and dryer were recessed and the joists left exposed.

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

 Finally, I want to leave you with some more of that breathtaking view of the foothills. Let’s take a step out onto the deck…

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

Jenna Sue Rustic Home Tour

I hope you enjoyed this Home Tour! For more spaces in Jenna Sue’s home including a studio and a home-theater room check out Jenna Sue Design Co. She has a full list of sources in the Home Tours section, too! I suggest you also follow her on Instagram for project sneak peaks…including her current bathroom remodel that is featuring some BEAUTIFUL cement tile!

Gift Buying for Special Occasions + a Giveaway

**This post contains items that were provided to me free of charge. All opinions are 100% my own**


During the spring season, wedding invitatons and house-warming invitations begin to flood in. This summer will be a busy one for us in terms of several of these events to attend. Many of my friends are  now also welcoming new bundles of joy into their lives.  For me, I always want to think outside of the box when it comes to gift-giving in these situations.

When Wendell August contacted me about sharing their products, I instantly knew that they were the perfect choice for such gifts. Wendell August create American made giftware and home decor items for “life’s special moments”. They forge heirloom quality items that you will treasure forever. At Wendell August, expert artisans hand-etch original designs. Each piece is then hand-wrought by skilled craftsmen, using an eight-step process with its roots in ancient metalworking techniques.

The nice people at Wendell August allowed me to pick two items that I would love to share with you but in reality, everything they make is so beautiful that picking just two items was just too difficult! SO I’m going to share with you the items that I received but also my recommendations for some other gift items that I know you or anyone else would LOVE to receive! (Oh, and keep reading for a giveaway at the end of the post!)

House Warming Gift

For a beautiful housewarming or hostess gift, Wendell August sent me two items from their Waterfall Collection – the Waterfall Chip & Dip Set and Waterfall Coasters. There are many other items in this collection, all of which are uniquely beautiful. The aluminum is carefully hand-hammered with a very small peen then brought to a high shine finish. The result is the shimmery visual effect, rightfully named Waterfall.






I like this collection so much because I think all the pieces are elegant and contemporary but also timeless. These are pieces of art that will stand the test of time.

Oh, and everything comes beautifully boxed too!

Wendell August boxed gifts wendell-august-boxes 

Wedding Gift
Wendell August Wedding Gift

I think a personalized wedding gift like this would be treasured. And, not only is this tray absolutely beautiful but it’s functional too. I think it looks super cute with the cupcakes on it!

New Baby Gift

I am crazy in love with Wendell August’s personalized baby gifts. They are not just some generic gift from the same baby stores that everyone goes to. These gifts are special and handcrafted just for that special baby!

Wendell August Baby Gift

Isn’t the attention to detail in these items is astounding?  I know that these would take pride of place in my baby’s nursery if I had been gifted one.

Those are just a few of the beautiful items that you can have handcrafted for that special someone in your life. Right now they also have beautiful Mother’s Day  (jewelry, frames and personalized plates) & Graduation gifts.  

Not looking for a gift? Check out their entertaining and home accessories sections and you won’t  be disappointed with their elegant choices of plates, platters, wine holders, vases, desk items and even switch plates!

Wife in Progress readers can use code ENGRAVE50 to get 50% off engraving or 20% off all regular priced merchandise using code 20APRIL. Offers runs to the end of April. Additionally, if you refer your friends to Wendell August you will get 25% of your next order and your friend will get 20%! Click here to go straight to your personalized referral page. 

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!! Wendell August is kindly giving away a choice of either the Waterfall Chip & Dip or Waterfall Coasters to one lucky Wife in Progress reader! AND the giveaway is open to international residents – YAY! Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway runs 4/20 – 4/28/2015. The winner will be notified by email. This contest is open to all Wife in Progress readers, including those that reside outside of the US and Canada. The winner will be chosen at random. Wife in Progress is not responsible for shipping the prize. 

What Makes My House a Home

Today I’m going to get a bit sentimental (read: you’re in for a wordy post!).

When Taylor from Porch.com contacted me about participating in their #LoveYourHome series I was intrigued. The idea was to share anywhere that is special or that’s my “happy place” in my home. Thinking about it, I realized that everything about my home makes me happy. And today, I want to share with you the many reasons for this.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you might know parts of this story. You may know that I moved here from Ireland. You may also know that Brian and I purchased our home from my in-laws. Here’s the rest of the story:

In 2010 I moved to the Boston area from Ireland to be with my (then) boyfriend, Brian. I was returning to school to get my Master’s in Education and working in an elementary school full-time – as an unpaid intern. We didn’t have much money; I had school loans that needed to be repaid and after getting engaged in December of that year, we had a wedding to save for. 

Graciously, Brian’s parents let us live rent free in their home during that year. We helped pay for bills and (mostly) bought our own groceries. Although I did have dinner on the table for me every evening when I came home! It was during this time that the opportunity to purchase their home arose as they were planning to retire to Maine in the coming months. It certainly was something that we just couldn’t not pass up.

With their help we were able to forego a large down payment and get a mortgage on the house. Brian’s parents continued to live with us for several months after this. 

This being the house that Brian grew up in makes it a special place to him. It took me a while to realize that. Initially I was so excited to make the house “my own” that I neglected others’ feelings and didn’t take into account the memories that I might be stepping on in so hastily “making over” the house. I now wish I had waited until it was just Brian and I in the house before starting that process. I didn’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. Hindsight is a great thing, don’t ya think?

Anyway, the point in me telling you my back story is that this house has always been a home to Brian. I wanted it to feel like home to me too. I wanted to make it OUR home. 

4 years later it certainly is our home. In writing this piece I thought I would pick one corner of my home or one particular space that makes me the happiest. In truth, it is the sum of all the parts that make this a happy home. 

I love to have my favorite memories visible. From our wedding vows and wedding invitation hanging in the hallway, wedding pictures and Cian’s newborn pictures in the living room and dining room and several maternity shots of my extremely large belly in the bedroom – my home is filled with pictures and mementos that bring a smile to my face and love to my heart.IMG_0413

maternity pictures

Baby Boy Nursery Rustic Shelves


Wedding Vows and Wedding Invitation

 Brian and I have put so much hard work into updating this home and that’s one of the many reasons we love it so much. WE removed all the wallpaper (I will NEVER do that again!) and painted the walls. WE painted all the doors and trim. WE designed our kitchen and bathroom when it was time to renovate them. WE carefully chose furniture and accents for the entire house. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it and we love it more so for that reason.

 house collage

maternity leave gift

This was gifted to me by one of my 5th grade students when I was going on maternity leave

Currently, my favorite space is my Baby Boy’s nursery. It is here that Brian put the crib together while I was 30+ weeks pregnant. It was here that I neatly folded baby clothes in the dresser that we refinished. It was here that I hung the crib mobile that I made for our son. It is here that we are making some amazing new memories.

crib assembly

Baby Boy Nursery Crib Mobile

It might not be the biggest or grandest house you will ever see and I know that at some point in the future we will outgrow this house that has become our home. We will find another house and make it our home. But this one will forever be my first home with the family that Brian and I made. It will forever hold many memories and a very special place in my heart and will be eternally grateful to Brian’s parents for helping us get on the property ladder.

Porch.com allows you to get  connected to BBB accredited professionals. Additionally, you can browse over 130 million projects on Porch or find lots of advice and inspiration for all things home improvement and DIY. Did I mention it’s all for FREE? So head over and check it out!


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