Establish A House…

I have been excited to share this project for a REALLY long time. We finally completed it last week! It all started about 9 months ago (no a baby is not involved.) I had been looking for something to put in our main entrance. It has a huge wall and needed some love.

See below.

That wall was crying out to me for something huge and dramatic. So one day I received my Restoration Hardware catalog, where I saw this photo.

The huge Subway Poster really caught my eye. I loved the black and white/vintage vibe. And if you are on Pinterest you know that subway posters are rather in right now.

Two things I didn’t love about it. 1. The price of $850 and 2. How generic it was. Everyone has these it seems. Also I have never been to New York, so the street names mean nothing to me.

One of The Smithocracy Rules about art is that is must Mean Something. All the art in our home has a purpose. It could be about somewhere we have been, or something to inspire us to be better. I also prefer my art to be spiritual in some way, but not in your face spiritual. Like the yellow painting you see in the top photo. That is titled The Mustard Seed, I painted it about 3 years ago. Anyway it is representative of faith and how it can start out small, like a mustard seed, but grows into a large tree. You can find that story in the bible. I like that story and wanted to represent faith growing in our home.

Here is a close up of that art. It has a watermark it, sorry but having someone steal my art once was enough for me.

Anyway back to my dilema.

So just ordering that poster would not meet any of those requirements. However I happen to know a retired Graphic Designer with some time on her hands (that’s me, if you don’t know). So I said to myself “Self! we can make this!”

I knew the look I wanted, now I just needed the right words.

I wanted the words to be something that represented our family. Something that when guests walked in the door, they knew right away what The Smiths were about. It was a bit of a struggle to find that perfect thing. Until…I was sitting in Sunday School and the Teacher used the following scripture (Mormon scripture) in class.

“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;”      ~ D&C 109:8

It was perfect! I quickly wrote it down, and the next day I went to work. Once I got the design down I contacted Tommy, one of my favorite large format printers at Speed Pro Imaging, to print my Giant Masterpiece.

And I mean GIANT. You can see it laying there next to the daybed. It is 42″x96″ or 3.5 feet x 8 feet if you don’t want to do the math.

I was so happy! However the next, and most troubling step was framing this guy. So for months he just sat in storage until Dan and I could come up with a solution. So last week we finally figured it out.

Dan researched and learned all about building GIANT frames. And build one he did.

Then we mounted the art to some backer board. Which we then had to cut down to size.

Once that was done, we needed to attach it to the frame. This took some thinking. We had to have everything perfectly even as it was pretty much a one shot thing. Remember this is HUGE and Heavy. So no easy re-dos people. We decided to work backwards. So we placed the frame on top of the art and made sure it was nice and square. (FYI we protected the art with acetate that I ordered online. Later down the road, when the budget allows, we will order actual glass to put in a new frame.)

Then Dan got the pleasure of securing from the bottom up.

Actually everything you see, I did too, I just can’t take pictures of myself. In fact I am missing, in pictures, quite a few steps. Each one required both of us and all of our hands. So I took what I could.

Once we felt the back was secure enough, we transferred it to the floor and finished the job.

Once the art was secure it was time for me to finish the frame. We saved this step for last, because we knew the framing would scratch the finish we were going to use. And since I wasn’t painting it, we were confident in not getting any on the art work.

We wanted a silver frame, since that is usually the color I frame with. So to do the job I got out the ‘ol handy dandy Rub ‘n Buff.

I really like this stuff. You just use your finger to spread it on and it covers everything so nicely. It is great for changing a picture frame from a color you don’t like to any of the colors they carry. I used it for the picture in our bedroom from this post.

Just know that the process is very messy on your hands. So no photos of me doing it.

Once it was dry it was time to hang it up! Easy to say, but not do when you are talking about a large piece of art like this. But Dan came through and we achieved success without injury. A miracle!

Here is the view from the Living Room.

And another from down the hall by my office.

It is so nice finally having this project done. Well almost done. Like I said, when we can, we will order actual glass for the thing. Then we will have to re-frame it. I am super happy with the results for the most part. However I am wondering if the silver is too blah. Perhaps I should have done some other color, like I photo-shopped below.

Also I wonder if we should just let it rest on the floor and lean back, rather then hanging it on the wall. Let me know what you think. Since we are going to be doing a new frame in the future I will get a chance to change my mind. So I would love to hear everybody’s opinion.

Besides all that, I really like this and it added just the right amount of drama to my boring entry. Stay tuned till next time when I share all about The Wedding Party of the Century.

Seriously, my brothers wedding reception from this last weekend was so so fun and I can’t wait to share.

Happy Monday!


Welcome to my home

Well here it is, the big reveal! Dun, dun duuuuun. Actually it is not that dramatic, but it is exciting! Please keep in mind a few things. We are working from scratch here people! This is a very blank canvas right now, so bear with me. There is a lot of white walls and not much art either. Also, before everyone posts and tells me, I know my curtains are too short. I know they don’t touch the ground and I am working on it (today in fact, but that is a hint for next weeks post.)  This house is a LOT taller then my old house, so the curtains are falling a little short…get it…short. haha. Anywho, we still have to cover our windows, regardless of length. So we put up what we could and are replacing as we go. I also know that some of my light bulbs are out, so don’t feel free to point that out either. It’s on the list people! and the list is ten miles long!  Now for the tour…


You are standing in the front door. To the right is a hall to my office, then past that, which you can see are the stairs. On the left is a hall that takes you to the laundry room and the garage. Straight ahead takes you to the dining, living room and kitchen. Here is what the entry looks like from a different angle.

Nothing too interesting to see there. In the future we can look for a sideboard of some sort on that wall, and some large art. Next we will go to the right (Imagine you are still standing in the door) and visit my office.

You can see there is a powder bath (very boring right now, but not for long!) at the end, and on the right is my office. It is still “in progress.” So not too much to be excited about.

Now to the laundry room.

Yep, it’s a laundry room. But it’s a laundry room I LOVE! All because of that window. I always wanted a laundry room with natural light. So I am happy. :-)

Next, on to the Dining room we go.

curse you short curtains! Imagine long elegant curtains, there, that is better.

Anyway I am really happy with how this space turned out (except the curtains.) I love that I can display my favorite serving ware and my old table doesn’t look half bad. We will eventually change the chairs and get rid of the bench. But it works for now. If you turn to the left you enter the living room.

I wish I could show this space all as one. It is much nicer in real life. It is FAR from complete, but it has a good base. I am on the look out for a twin to my orange chair, and we need a nice cream shaggy rug, curtains are happening today, and we need some nick nacky stuff.

Now complete your turn to the left and head to the kitchen.

Hello my love…

I love my kitchen so much! It is so shiny and big and clean. I actually started to enjoy cooking! We still need some stools and a kitchen table. We will also be adding a backsplash later on. But here are some details that I love.

I love the white granite I chose. It is a lot like marble. Yum. That cooktop is pretty fantastic as well.

On the island I went for a black artisan granite. It has a soap stone like texture. And a large apron sink. Which I adore! And I never use the word adore, so this is serious people.

The rest of the kitchen obviously still needs some love, but we will go down that little hall on the left and visit my bedroom. That door you see is a hall closet, by the way, not the door to my bedroom.

A little sparse. And hard to photograph. So I don’t think it is translating well. But imagine crazy high ceilings and lots of open space. Nice and airy. We will be working on a head board and getting some paint on the wall. We probably won’t add much more in the furniture department. We are minimalistic in our style, so like the openness. The two open doors lead into the master bathroom. Another incredibly hard space to photograph.

It is a really great space, but very hard to show in a picture. But I like the separate sinks and I love the HUGE soaker tub, which you can’t see, and the large shower. I also love the sweats I’m wearing as reflected in the mirror. I obviously dressed up for this picture. ;-)

Now to head upstairs to the rest of the house.

Here is the game room. This has been a great place for my kids to just play and have fun. As evidenced by the little piece of train track that snuck in my photo. The art piece on the left is waiting to be hung. The frame was bent while in storage so we have to build a new one. Boo. So it has been placed on pause for now. To the left is the Media Room or Dan’s Space of Manly Manliness and Feats of Strength and Prowess.

VERY much a work in progress, so not much to show. Also it appears one of the couch cushions is upside down. Oops.

Last but not least is the guest room.

This is going to be where you all stay when you come visit me. :-) But it is not finished. For now, there is a bed and pillows and your own bath. So that’s is good enough!

So that completes the tour of our new home! I hope you enjoyed it and I am excited to share all of my upcoming projects with you as we compete all the rooms and spaces.

“Um Tannie”


“Don’t your children have rooms”

“Yes, and a bathroom”

“Aren’t you going to show them?”


And here is why.They were so messy I refused to photograph them. You would see a bed on the floor and toys everywhere. So no, that is not happening here in perfect blogdom. When we finally get their rooms to a place where I feel it is a “good start.” I will show them, but now they are a negative. They are not a neutral base for jumping off of, they are not a blank canvas. They are messy boy places of sleeping. Not for long though!

Anyway let me know what you think and I will see you all next week with my first real project for this new home!

Go The Smithocracy!


Where to begin? There is so much I need to get you all caught up on. So I think I will just start with the basics. Below is the progression of our house being built. I never did show the final outcome of the exterior, so that should make you happy. Next post will be a tour of the inside. We have a lot of projects planned, so it is important to get a good group of “before” pictures. Anyway enjoy!

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(Thump, thump, thump) Is this thing on?

Hello friends! It’s been a little quiet around here lately. We have had three weeks in the new house and no internet the entire time!  Today was finally Internet day. So happy internet day to everyone! I am back and connected to the world. It feels marvelous!!!

Next week will begin our regularly scheduled programming. Thanks so much for hanging tight with me!

Real fast a verbal run down. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being in my new house. It is big, beautiful, open and wonderful. I love seeing all my stuff that I missed so much and I love how it is looking in the new space. I especially love not driving across town twice a day.

We feel so happy and blessed to finally be in our dream. I will show pictures and start projects as soon as possible. We almost have our feet under us and The Smithocracy is slowly starting to stabilize. So the long and the short of it is that we are so happy and grateful to be here. We could not have done it if my parents had not have been so kind and generous as to let us stay with them rent free. So a BIG thank you to the parents!

See you all next week!


Friday Update

Hello! Well this week has been rather interesting. It FINALLY RAINED last weekend!  Which is so great for the Austin area. However, it is not so great for building  a house. So you will notice the surprising lack of pictures in this post. Sorry about that! Not much has been done, but at the same time TONS has been done. It just all went inward and a lot of little things that really aren’t worth photographing. So here is what was done.

  • Roof shingles were completed as of today
  • Chicken wire attached in order to prep for the stucco
  • Lots of corrections were done. For example they had installed the wrong sized door, and now it is the right door. Or a step was not level, so now they leveled it
  • piping and electrical has been done

So just a lot of little things, that would be boring to look at anyway. However (when I can’t take photos of course) TODAY they are putting on the stucco and some real doors showed up, they blocked out the kitchen island, and we have the pre-drywall meeting set for Monday morning. So major action is happening at The Smithocracy Domain.

So be prepared my peeps! I will have plenty of photos and your very first video tour next week.  I know I know, the excitement is just too much.

Now something else exciting going on is that my Brother just opened up his second restaurant in Round Rock. It is called CraigOs Pizza and Pastaria. His first store is on 2222 and balcones. Here is the website for that store. Designed by yours truly.

The new store is located at 661 Louis henna blvd. Suite 450 and does not have a website…yet.

It IS SO delicious.

I know that sounds like something I should say as a good sister. But I am not kidding, the food is terrific. So tomorrow he is having his grand opening celebration and pizza is 50% off all day long! Dan and I will also be there doing some kids activities from 11-2. I will be painting faces and Dan will be a clown, but not a scary one. So fun for the whole family!

So if you are in the Round Rock area head on over and check it out! I will post pictures from it on Monday. It will be our little DIY because I also helped contribute in getting the store decorated.  Which is still a work in progress by the way, so no judging.

In fact, keep checking in on The Smithocracy, because coming up next week is a CraigOs food review where I will also be doing my first giveaway!  Hooray!

What about you? Do you have anything fun planned for tomorrow?

Have a great weekend everybody!