Our Backyard Makeover Reveal

Have I foreshadowed this post enough to get you super pumped?  Well it’s time!

Let’s start back a year ago… Welcome to our backyard jungle.

We closed on our house in the dead of winter, so as soon as spring hit, we got a first look at the massive amounts of greenery that made up our yard. The shot above was taken mid spring, and since the house had been vacant for quite some time before we got there, things got a bit unruly back there.

As a reminder, our yard was divided into two sections (lower tier/upper tier), separated by thick green bushes.
The photo below is courtesy of the new Google Maps (amazing!) and shows the two sections, and the massive bushes in between!

overhead shot of house

Our first project was to put in stairs so that we could actually access the back part of the yard.  But after Tony spent an entire day removing one of  those green bushes that divided the yard (those suckers have deep roots!) we realized we needed major machinery to get the job done.

Video:  Bush Removal


We got three quotes and decided to go with D’Arrigo Masonry and Landscaping, out of Woburn, MA.
Huge shout out to Peter who has been a joy to work with, and his crew who have been our saviors these past 12 months.

So in came the major machinery, out came a few of those f-in bushes… and in their place were stairs!

Once the stairs were in, we were able to enjoy the back part of the yard for the rest of the summer…
Some good times were spent with those Adirondack chairs and fire pit.

But oh, we weren’t even close to done!

Summer, Winter and Fall were SAVE SAVE SAVE months, because we were bringing the D’Arrigo boyz and their hard core machinery back for a major patio and yard reno.

Welcome to the danger zone…

You can see why this project was even too big for my handy man hubby.

But soon enough, things were starting to take shape!
And the best part?
The rock wall you see below was built with rocks that were already in our yard!  They were hidden by the fence (on the right) under a massive amount of bushes.  Major savings here!

Progress shot (through the screen… sorry!)

Next came my favorite part… The spraying of the grass seed!  This was pretty cool to watch.

Video:  Spraying in grass seed


Thanks to our in ground irrigation system (nice perk that came with the house) in just two weeks, the grass has started to grow!

And I’ve saved the best for last!

Here is a picture of our old, cracked and weathered patio…

And here is the new, improved (and so much bigger) patio!!!

As you can see, the grass is still growing, so we haven’t been able to enjoy the lawn, but there’s been plenty of quality time on the patio!

Alright here’s the in-a-nutshell recap of what was done:

Bushes Removed
Stairs Built
(2) Rock Walls Built
Retaining Wall Built
Yard Leveled
Old Patio Removed
New Patio Installed
Garden Area Installed
Irrigation System Rerouted
Grass Seeded

Next up?  

See that brown area in front of that patio?  It’s going to be a garden!  STAY TUNED!

Tip for Lazy Cleaners

No one likes cleaning.  Don’t even try and tell me you do.  Yes, you may like things clean, and cleaning may not be your least favorite chore, but don’t even try to tell me that you enjoy it! 😉

Well this week, one of my new favorite blogs Lifehacker, suggested this simple cleaning tip that I wanted to pass along…


I’ll be sure to try it this week and report back on my success 🙂

So what are some of your lazy cleaning tips?  Swiffer socks anyone?


And I’m back!

I hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day weekend.  I attended what was likely the most beautiful wedding EVER and still can’t get over the fact that my little brother is now married!!!  The Wequasett Resort in Chatham, MA was the most stunning venue I have ever seen, so anyone interested in a classy cape wedding, I recommend checking it out!


Love you Joe & Lindsay!!!

Oh but it hasn’t been all wedding fun… We’ve been quite busy over at the Hopf house.  There’s been some front yard and curb appeal work with a new lawn and landscaping…

And some weep hole drilling in the front retaining wall.  You know, a typical Saturday with power tools 😉

Tony and his dad started working on the roof.  First task: gutters and trim.  Next up: new roof!

There’s also been some more nursery room prep.  Yup.  We got a crib (thanks mom and dad!!!).  Sh*t just got REAL!
We went with the Babyletto Modo 3 in 1 because it was a low profile crib (good for us shorties) and we liked the two tone look.

We also made a quick trip to Ikea to finish up the office side of the room.

Drawers:  HELMER

Still need to decorate!

And of course, there is the MAJOR backyard reno which is now for the most part done!  Stay tuned for a post very soon to show you the progress…. Just waiting for the grass to grow a bit more so I can take some good pictures!

So what are your summer house plans?

Back in a Jiffy

Every once in a while I take a mini blog vacation.  The time off always results in some much needed technology R&R, and helps me refuel for my next round of DIY and home related posts.

Spoiler Alert: I have some pretty exciting backyard updates to share!!!

This blog vacation however is particularly exciting, as I’ll be spending some time on Cape Cod in celebration of my little brother getting married!!!!   In addition to what is going to be the most stunning bride and groom, the wedding is taking place at what I anticipate to be one of the most beautifully designed spots on Cape Cod, The Wequassett Resort.

I mean just look at this place!

Joe and Lindsay – I could not be happier for the two of you and can’t wait to celebrate you both so soon!

So signing off until after Memorial Day weekend.  And for those who have some time off as well – enjoy it – and see you back here soon!

DIY Succulent Medley

Saw these beauties at the garden store the other day…

Price tag was $79 each.  I love you but um, no thanks.

So instead I bought these mini succulents (bottom right) for $4/each…

And using some potting soil and a pot I already had siting around…

Put together my own version!

Best part?  You really can’t kill these.  Trust me.  If any one could, it would be me…

Nope.  Alive and thriving, and under $30 buckeroos!

I heart succulents.

Teach me Tuesday: Google Image Finder

I consider myself a real pro when it comes to Google, and so am shocked that I just recently found out about this feature???!!!  Thank you Apartment Therapy for keeping me educated.

Let’s talk about Visually Similar Images by Google

Not only can this tool help you locate an image’s source (hello #pinterestfails) but it can also lead you on a decorating inspirational journey… that could easily take up your entire afternoon 🙂

Alright let’s do this.

1. I recommend using Chrome as your web browser.

2. Navigate to Google

3. Click the Images Tab



4. Using a new window, pull up the image you want to use for inspiration (or for which you want to find other places it’s located on the web).

5. Drag and drop the image right into the Google search box.

6. Click the “visually similar images” link

Let the inspiration begin!

Here’s an example I tried with a beautiful nursey from Restoration Hardware:

And here are some fun results that pulled up!




Pretty neat, huh?

Thanks Google.  You never cease to rock my world.


Just wanted to share some new features I got goin’ on the blog!  If you’re an RSS reader like me, you never actually click on my actual blog, which means you’ll miss out on all my little widgets 🙂  No worries, they haven’t been all that exciting…  Until now!

So I’ve debated back and forth for a while now as to whether or not I want to branch out into a more lifestyle blog, especially once I become a mom and my DIYs take a back seat to changing diapers and breast feeding for a bit.  Oh wait, you DO wanna hear all about baby poop?  Well in that case….

On the one hand I’ve learned SO SO much from parenting and pregnancy bloggers, and so part of me wants to share my experiences as a way of contributing to this incredibly resourceful community.  But on the other hand, I also want to stay true to my original mission of writing about things for the home, which is something that I am truly passionate about.

So I came up with a compromise.

Instead of posting about non-house stuff, I have created a “lifestyle” corner of the blog (left hand side of the page).  Here I’ll write about all things maternity, relationships, parenting… and other life related tidbits I learn along the way.    These features will not come through your email (if you subscribe) or be posted to Facebook or Twitter, so it’s totally up to you if you feel like reading them.  To see them, simply go to the blog url (www.housefullofpretty.com) and click away at your leisure!  I may post some things to Pinterest, mostly because that’s how I found fabulous information… but that is still TBD.

This section will definitely grow, but one area that I’ve been working on behind the scenes is now live…. I call it Maternity Fashion.  My non-Kim Kardashian fashion tips.  It’s basically a lot of maternity friendly outfits and lame self portrait shots in the mirror.  I was obsessed at looking at these from other bloggers, so decided to join in on the fun.  You can see it here.

Also in this section is my Instagram feed.  Follow me, and you’ll see lot’s of pictures of food, Tony doing manual labor, and Roxy dog in cute poses.  Totally intriguing, eh?  You can see more here.


Fun with Knobs

I love quick and easy projects that have big impact.

Ikea dresser/changing table before…

Ikea dresser/changing table after a trip to Anthropologie!

When you don’t spend a lot on the dresser, you can justify the splurge on the knobs 🙂

I decided to mix and match a bit with their Singular Bloom Knobs

Screen shot 2013-05-05 at 12.33.34 PM Screen shot 2013-05-05 at 12.33.45 PM Screen shot 2013-05-05 at 12.34.00 PM

I’m sure baby will greatly appreciate the decor effort 😉


Pinterest Challenge: I Heart You ABCs

Another Pinterest pin has resulted in an actual DIY, thanks to the motivation of the Spring Pinterest Challenge and these lovely ladies!

Emily from Sparkle meets Pop
Katie from Bower Power
Renee from Red Bird Blue
Sherry from Young House Love

Join the challenge with me!  Full details here.

I’m on a freakin Pin to reality roll here!

I’m planning on doing a gallery wall for the nursery, so I’m always on the hunt for cute and original ideas for decor. Here is the pin I used for inspiration for this project.

Pin Source: Original Source

And now my spin!


This is all you need for the DIY!

Wood Letters

I got a package of letters from Michaels for $3.99.  They were the perfect fit for this project too.

First lay the letters out on your canvas, to make sure they fit.  You’ll notice here that every line gets 5 letters, except for the second since the “I” is super narrow.  This works out perfectly for 5 even rows.

If you don’t want to eyeball it, you can draw some faint grid lines in pencil.  Just an FYI – pencil is hard to erase on canvas.

Next, start painting!  Yup, I went with poop brown 🙂

Here is where I DIY failed.  I orininally though I’d keep the canvas white, but it looked unfishined, so I went with gray.  Well jokes on me because the gray not only looked horrible, but with the brown letters on top, it was pretty dreary.

Fortunately I had another canvas that I went all “artsy” on a few years ago, so I decided to use that one as a backgrop instead.  Basically I funktified this project due to a painting failure 🙂

Oh, and forgot to take a pic of the painted canvas alone.  My bad.

Now it’s time to glue down the letters!
I painted on the Elmers glue so it wouldn’t be too thick.

Note: The O/Heart letter spot was a big debate in this family.  I wanted to just put a heart in (you know, I LOVE YOU) and forgo the “O” but Tony said it might confused our child and wanted the O so the alphabet was legit!  HA!

But then it would say I O U!  Not the message I’m going for, honey.

So we compromised with both and “O” and a heart.
While the canvas is a bit busy, I’m still pretty happy with the turnout.

Yes, that is that artsy canvas I made years ago over a glass of wine.  I’m not sure yet if I love it or hate it, but going with it for now.


Shout out to my BFF’s Mom Lee Aven, who wrote and gave me a signed copy of the Love Me This Way book (see photo above)!  
Check it out here!

Like so many other things in the soon-to-be nursery, I have yet to hang this piece… but for now it will reside with my baby chucks and books and await it’s final resting space on the wall.

Thanks Pinterest Challenge for the motivation!!!

Pinterest Challenge Spring Edition

I’m super excited to participate once again in the Pinterest Challenge!

If you’re looking for an excuse to actually DO one of those millions of DIYs you pinned…. come join me!  

This challenge is once again brought to you by these wonderful and inspirational bloggers:


Here’s the scoop:

  1. Find something you’ve Pinned that you want to tackle.
  2. Tackle it with your own spin!
  3. Blog/tweet/write a facebook status update about it!
  4. If you’re a blogger…. In your blog post, link to the both the Pinterest item, AND the original source, and link back to the four Pinterest Challenge hosts above.

The party starts May 8th!  Can’t wait to participate!

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