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Rather Square - Modern life and design in our historical American Foursquare home

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Gift Guide for Your Home: Design and Decor

By on December 17, 2014


You may be seeing a lot of gift guides popping up lately, with a plethora of ideas for what to get your friends and family this holiday season. But don’t forget to add your home to your gift-giving list! For us, our house is more than just shelter – it’s the hub of our family and our lives, and we want to celebrate it (since it’s been so good to us this year). So we thought we’d share some gift ideas for that special house in your life. Look for more in our Gift Guides for Your Home series all month long!


Our previous Gift Guides have been chock full of practical items to help you keep your house in top shape. In this last Gift Guide, we’re focusing on things to make your home feel pretty! In our 1920s Craftsman Foursquare, we like to mix up the decor with a balance of period-appropriate and modern-design items, and we usually gravitate toward a warm neutral color palette to tie it all together. Below we’re sharing some furnishings and accessories that would work in anyone’s old (or new!) house.

Gift Guide for Your Home: Design and Decor | Rather Square

A. How about a mid-century modern knockoff chair? (We’ve got one of these in our living room – check out our review here.) 

B. Wrap yourself up in this cozy, warm-tone blanket.

C. Open your doors with some vintage-look glass doorknobs(Have you weighed in on our keep-or-replace doorknob discussion yet?) 

D. Love the carved legs on this wooden end table.

E. Refresh your throw pillows with custom covers(We’ve done this in our nursery - an affordable alternative to buying all-new pillows!)

F. Introduce color with bright accessories, like this textured vase(This would look great on our built-in bookcase!)

G. Every room needs good lighting – try this geometric table lamp with an open base for an airy look.

H. Keep a few design books around for more ideas – we like The Nesting Place, The Furniture Bible, and Young House Love.

Check out our other Gift Guides for Your Home:
Gift Guide for Your Home: Keeping it Strong and Safe
Gift Guide for Your Home: DIY Tools and Supplies

(linked on Remodelaholic)

Links may contain affiliates.

December 17, 2014

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Riding the holiday train

By on December 15, 2014


I had a very merry ride home from work last week…

Riding the Holiday Train | Rather Square

Riding the Holiday Train | Rather Square

I was lucky enough to catch the our local holiday train! Every year during the holiday season, volunteers transform train cars on each branch of Chicago’s mass transit system with lights, decorations, music and a real live Santa. It was (conveniently!) scheduled to show up at my usual station around the end of the workday, so I made sure to get to the platform in time. It’s hilariously over-the-top awesome, and of course I took lots of pictures.

Riding the Holiday Train | Rather Square

Riding the Holiday Train | Rather Square

I rode this train last year as well. It’s a really fun experience, especially for kids (there were many of them with their families in my train car, riding along with us regular commuters). Maybe next year John and I can take E and T – they’d probably think it was the best time ever. Particularly the “elves” handing out candy canes at each entrance.

Riding the Holiday Train | Rather Square

Even after speeding along in the cold open air for hours, Santa’s still a jolly sport.

Riding the Holiday Train | Rather Square

Happy holidays!

Riding the Holiday Train | Rather Square

December 15, 2014

category: Inspiration + Fun  • Tags: , ,
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Gift Guide for Your Home: DIY Tools and Supplies

By on December 8, 2014


You may be seeing a lot of gift guides popping up lately, with a plethora of ideas for what to get your friends and family this holiday season. But don’t forget to add your home to your gift-giving list! For us, our house is more than just shelter – it’s the hub of our family and our lives, and we want to celebrate it (since it’s been so good to us this year). So we thought we’d share some gift ideas for that special house in your life. Look for more in our Gift Guides for Your Home series all month long!


This next Gift Guide features some essential tools and supplies for all the DIY projects you’ve been meaning to start (or finish!) around your house. Have a painting party, cut through some walls, build some stuff, or do a little crafting. It’s the holidays!

Gift Guide for Your Home: DIY Tools and Supplies | Rather Square

A. This oscillating saw makes quick work of cutting cleanly through plaster in old houses – see what’s behind your walls without making a huge mess. (John used his during our bathroom light installation project.)

B. Another great tool for cutting things – a reciprocating saw – can come in handy for both indoor and outdoor jobs. (It helped us cut down our giant yew bushes.)

C. A lightweight drill/driver set is the perfect all-purpose power tool gift, and we especially love that it’s cordless – great for those spots in your home that aren’t near an electrical outlet! (Check out how we used this drill to easily move our kitchen counters.)

D. Use a paint sprayer when you want to cover a large surface area in a short amount of time, and make it look professional. (We’re coveting this for our kitchen cabinet makeover! Santa, are you reading this?)

E. High-quality paintbrushes are a must for any painting project. (See all our painting projects here.)

F. For a dust-free way to prepare surfaces for paint, try a deglosser instead of sanding. (We used this for our built-in bookcase renovation with positive results.)

G. Mix this fabric medium with regular latex paint to transform upholstered furniture without breaking the bank. (Or use it for painting inexpensive fabric bins to match your new nursery decor.)

H. A staple gun is a good tool to have on hand for a variety of craft and upholstery projects. (See all our furniture projects here.)

I. Sharp X-acto blades or a utility knife are essential for scoring lightweight materials like paper, foamcore and cardboard. (They’re great for making a quick cardboard Christmas tree!)

Check out our other Gift Guides for Your Home:
Gift Guide for Your Home: Keeping it Strong and Safe
Gift Guide for Your Home: Design and Decor

(linked on Remodelaholic)

Links may contain affiliates.

December 8, 2014

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Gift Guide for Your Home: Keeping it Strong and Safe

By on December 3, 2014


You may be seeing a lot of gift guides popping up lately, with a plethora of ideas for what to get your friends and family this holiday season. But don’t forget to add your home to your gift-giving list! For us, our house is more than just shelter – it’s the hub of our family and our lives, and we want to celebrate it (since it’s been so good to us this year). So we thought we’d share some gift ideas for that special house in your life. Look for more in our Gift Guides for Your Home series all month long!


Our first Gift Guide showcases some great tools and materials to protect your house inside and out.

Gift Guide for your Home: Keeping it Strong and Safe | Rather Square

A. Seal cracks in your house’s stucco exterior with this clear paintable silicone caulk to keep out the elements and prevent further damage. (And don’t forget a caulking gun!)

B. Use landscaping shears, heavy-duty loppers, or even a chainsaw to cut back overgrown tree branches and bushes that are encroaching on your house.

C. Protect your exterior decks and porches with a coat or two of weatherproofing sealant. It’s available in many colors and its rough-traction surface will help reduce slips and falls during icy winter days.

D. Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your house (we like this combination carbon monoxide/smoke alarm). You can’t see or smell this deadly gas, so a detector is a must to keep you and your family safe from leaks.

E. Lead test kits make great stocking stuffers (if homes had stockings…). Since old houses are notorious for containing lead paint, keep several of these test swabs on hand to test painted surfaces before starting any home improvement project. Red means lead, people!

Check out our other Gift Guides for Your Home:
Gift Guide for Your Home: Design and Decor
Gift Guide for Your Home: DIY Tools and Supplies

(linked on Remodelaholic)

Links may contain affiliates.

December 3, 2014

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We’re thankful for…

By on November 25, 2014


It’s nearly Thanksgiving! The time of year when we pause and take stock of the good things in our lives. And there’s so much John and I are thankful for…

We're Thankful For | Rather Square

We’re thankful for our family, especially our two healthy and happy kids. Toddler E and Baby T definitely make life interesting around here!

Baby T | Rather Square

We’re thankful for the roof over our heads and all the projects we’ve been able to complete this year (like our budget bathroom updates and DIY painted furniture for the nursery).

Our Budget Bathroom Update | Let There be Light (Part 2) | Rather Square

How to Paint Fabric Drawers | Rather Square

We’re thankful to be gainfully employed and able to support our family. This helps us to build an emergency fund, which came in handy this year when both our refrigerator and furnace broke down. We were able to replace these essentials without going into debt. Being a homeowner means always being prepared for the unexpected!

Old Furnace, New Furnace | Rather Square

Installing our New Refrigerator | Rather Square

And we’re thankful for all of you, our readers and friends! Blogging our experiences as homeowners has been really fun, and we’re thankful to all of you for your comments, feedback, and support.

House Tour Page | Rather Square

Your turn! What are you thankful for?

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November 25, 2014