Basement Inspiration Files – Let There Be Light


We are putting meetings on the calendar (with each other and architects), pens to paper, and I am pinning away like a mad woman in search of perfect design plan for our currently unfinished basement. This actually is my favorite part of the renovation, before the reality of a price tag and structural restrictions sets in. We do have a rough framework to guide us – defined by existing dimensions, a few considerations, and an overarching goal of creating more light.… Read the rest

We are BACK

HouseToLaosbrandphoto copy

Long time – no see! We are back from our round the world trip – actually have been for a few months now. I have missed this space, but…you know how it goes. We’ve been busy setting up house, writing about our adventures over on House to Laos – our travel blog, and I have been looking for a new job (found).

Photo by Mia Mabanta

Last month we took some photos of the state of VIB, which I am super excited to share with you.… Read the rest

Kitchen Counter Update

Sooooo — we had have these beautiful countertops in the kitchen. Originally butcher block from Ikea, we stained them jet black with ink and then invested a lot of time getting them sealed. I had done a lot of research and apparently quite a few people out there have a luck with Waterlox, which is great to use because it is food-grade safe. But bad news for us, I probably didn’t do a great job sealing them.… Read the rest

Closing up shop

This is it. Our last week at the VIB for a good long while. To go out on a good note, I have a few fun updates on the kitchen. And one of those is not even an update, but a whole big before and after!!! Yep, I am finally going to do it. But before we get to those bits an update on the tag sale. Huge Success!

We actually ended up being at it for two days.… Read the rest

Tag, you are it!

We are having a tag sale! Saturday, 27 July, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We will be selling items big and small,  letting go of an era. Please feel free to come by, browse, and take a peak at the house if you like!

A sample of what’s on offer:

Lots of candles. And candle holders. Vases of all sorts. Including those that can hold floating candles.

Picture frames. You know, for that gallery wall you always wanted to make.… Read the rest

Leasing the VIB

As exciting as our grand travel adventure is there is a whirlwind of planning and research associated, and which is as extensive and time consuming as the deepest throes of renovation. But I kind of love it, so that’s cool! One of the big to do’s on our list: Leasing the VIB – so we can take care of paying the mortgage and hopefully put away some money to take care of emergencies.… Read the rest


Hello there everyone. We have a very big announcement. We are off! to see the WORLD! Remember this little hint? well we couldn’t think of a better way to reward ourselves for all the hard work than with a new, grand adventure. Exciting, right?!

After going back and forth on whether we should keep the ol’ VIB site as our primary record of adventure, we ultimately decided that we would jump ship to a new home, called House to Laos.… Read the rest

¡Hola! Barcelona

We spent 4 days and 4 nights in Barcelona – catching one full day on our way down to Morocco and another three days on our way back. Everyone told us that Barcelona is an awesome city – from the architecture, to the beach, to the food scene, all the way to the party vibe – and we totally agree.

The one big drawback for me — I desperately wanted a local to show us around the cool spots.… Read the rest

Morocco: Shopping Mecca

I tend to think that shopping for original, one-of-a-kind pieces for the home is sort of a must no matter where we go — be it Austin (hello antlers and horse hooves!!) or Morocco. Obviously the fact that Moroccan craft pieces are quite the hot thing now in home decorleather poofs, wedding blankets, and berber rugs – check, check, and check – made me quite excited (get the goods straight from the source!) and anxious (no one wants to follow the fad, particularly if its over) at the same time.… Read the rest

Morocco: Scrumptious eats

We ate really well in Morocco. Some travelers have said that they get tired of Moroccan food, but that wasn’t really the case for us — we were there for just 9 days, so I am sure that counts. The one thing — I do like wine. In fact, I like it a lot. And there isn’t a lot of it in Morocco. It is served in some licensed (aka expensive) restaurants, and I think a few specialty shops carry the goods.… Read the rest

Morocco Lodging

Our accommodations in Morocco were one of the best parts of the trip — we by no means scrimped on this part, but also money goes amazingly far with lodgings in Morocco. Judging by the number of trip adviser reviews for various riads, it’s actually not that hard to find fantastic accommodation in Morocco, but not only did we have a great time in all of the places where we stayed, we also had a very good assortment of different types of lodgings.… Read the rest

Morocco Highlights

We spent a total of 8.5 days and 10 nights in Morocco, which was a good amount of time for Marrakech, Essaouira, and a tour of several beautiful valleys, mountains and the Sahara desert. We had only one night and half a day in Fes — that was not enough to see the city, but we definitely enjoyed the little time that we did get to spend there, and would love to return to explore more.… Read the rest

Travel update

Now that we are more or less finished up the big renovation projects, we are taking a break from house related work. We worked really hard for the 8+ months on gut renovation of kitchen and two bathrooms, and then powered through left over items, like re-plastering the ceilings, putting up wallpaper and getting the floors refinished. Let me just say keeping our focus on the house at that point was a feat, and I am actually surprised that we managed to do it.… Read the rest

Wallpaper !!!

I have attempted to photograph the finished foyer multiple times, but the pattern has proved to be a tricky bastard. this is a combination of photos that Sergey and I took, with a caveat, that I wish a professional would come and help us out here. Also, this post took an inordinately long time to be published, in part due to time crunch with my new duties, in part due to picture taking troubles, and in part because I am still learning to operate on my new Mac…I hope to be back here more frequently soon.Read the rest