Front Yard Landscape at aquahaus

Hi blog friends.

Well, if you’ve kept up with my blog for a couple years, you know that we have been renovating our house in Austin for the last year or so.

The last project has been the landscape.

When we bought our house, a friend described it to me as a “taco shack”. I guess the bright aqua color will do that.

 before fence

A lot has changed since this original picture. First off, we removed the weird spiky iron fence.

The tree unfortunately suffered a fungal infection and fell over in a wind storm one day.

We also replaced all the windows with more energy efficient glass. You can’t tell, but the small window behind the true was actually a half-window. We enlarged it to match the other and gain more symmetry.

 before aqua4

 before aqua

The yard was a complete and utter mess. Obviously. The concrete walkway was broken, and uninviting.

There were weeds all around the front porch, and yard for that matter. (Do you see tiny Archie on the front porch?)

First, we decided that to get the modern, mid-century feel we were looking for, we’d have to paint the house. We chose white.   We left the aqua eaves as a nod to the history of the house, and hence was born the aquahaus.


We then moved on to the yard itself. After many failed attempts, we met an awesome landscape designer who really listened to our wants/ needs, and he came up with this.


It has all the elements we like: 1) rectilinear & minimal design 2) elements of concrete 3) contrasting gravel 4) structured but drought tolerant plants 4) warm wood elements 5) steel planter.

Then the demolition started. Weeds like this were ripped out.


The demo process was impressive.


They razed our front yard in a matter of days.



Then, they added the rainbow gravel up front and prepped the walkway for a new wooden ipe boardwalk.


No more ankle breaking, hazardous concrete pseudo-walkway. I am pretty sure our mailman is stoked.

Archie loves the new boardwalk.


Yucca and Mexican feathergrass were planted in the long concrete planter, and limestone pavers in black basalt were aligned in front.



Sometime later this week, I’ll have the full reveal pics.

Happy humpday.



Airstream Renovation- The Before


Hello blog friends,


Sorry I abandoned you for so long. Summer is busy! We spent 2 weeks in Iceland and it was pretty spectacular. We spent alot of time looking at ugly places like this.




We camped for the 2 weeks, in this KuKu Camper Van.


It is a tiny Euro van, with a little kitchenette, and it was rad. Growing up in the city, I didn’t think I would love camping as much as I did. But I LOVED it.

When we got back, I became obsessed with the idea of getting a camper. And I dedicated innumerable internet hours to the cause.

I obviously started with the king of all trailers, the Airstream.



They are gorgeous, and amazingly, they gain value with time. Unfortunately for me, they are already too valuable ($$) to purchase.

So we kept looking.

Airstream also makes Argosy’s. Rather than the shiny aluminum finish, they have a painted exterior. They are lighter than typical airstreams, and have larger panoramic windows.

After an exhaustive search, I found my Argosy.

Her name is Josie.




There’s alot to be desired, but the bones are there. And check the awning!

I envision lots of fun camping trips, and maybe some tailgating during football season. (It’s already reppin’ the burnt orange)

I have big big plans, and I will describe the process here. I’ll have lots of questions, and will be asking for design advice, so I hope you’ll stay tuned!



Penny Bar DIY

Hi friends,

How was your weekend? I spent mine in beautiful Tucson. It is hot as hell during the day, but the nights are FAN tastic.

Moreover, the landscape there is a modernist’s dream. And how cheap!!


For this golden barrel cactus that will cost me $125 in Austin, it is $40 in Tucson. I almost committed myself to renting a Uhaul and driving a truck full of cacti home. It’s only 14 hours, right?


 Well, as promised, I am here to give you some info on how to create your own penny bar.


First, get the bar cabinet base together. I decided to try to create a semi-custom look with wood cabinets from Home Depot.

Step 1- Buy these cabinets from Home Depot. I think these are 15” wide.


Step 2- Decide on your finish. I decided to use Erin Williamson’s awesome India Ink Method.


Step 3- Gather supplies.


Step 4- Sand the wood to get a smooth finish.


Step 5- Wet the wood to raise the grain to allow better penetration of the stain.


Step 5- Brush on the India Ink. It dries quickly, so work quickly.



Step 6- Apply the Osmo polyx wax with a rag.

Step 7- Pimp out toekick. I chose to apply wallpaper samples I already had to the toe kicks. I didn’t have to buy anything new, and it is a fun surprise to the eye where you least expect it.


Now, time to focus our attention on the bar top itself.


Step 1- Gather a LOT of pennies. To create the pattern, I contrasted brand new shiny pennies, and dark, dirty pennies. It is actually much harder to acquire the dark pennies.


Step 2- Get a piece of wood or MDF and paint it a dark color, because it will pop through the pennies.

Step 3- Play around with a pattern.

Step 4- Glue pennies on, one by one, with Elmer’s glue, drink in hand.



Step 5- Use a miter box and cut trim to fit around the edges to conceal those perhaps imperfect edges.


Step 6- Glue trim on with Liquid Nails.   I chose not to put an edge at the back, as this would be flush against the wall.


Step 7- Buy aluminum flashing at the hardware store and secure to back, and around sides if you please. I secured mine with duct tape. The purpose of the flashing is to act as a dam, keeping the epoxy in, and on top of the pennies, rather than running out the sides.



Step 8- Gather your supplies and mix the epoxy. You need a partner for the epoxy application. Follow the directions to the letter.


Step 9- One person pours the epoxy, the other spreads with either a putty knife or a paint stirrer. I used a stirrer.



Step 10- Level out the epoxy, and don’t pick up your spreader too much, as this introduces air bubbles.


Step 11- Use a butane torch to pop air bubbles. If you don’t have one (I didn’t), you can pop them, one by one, back- breakingly, with a toothpick. My husband is a saint BTW.


Step 12- Let the epoxy cure. It takes at least 48h before you can put something on the surface.


Step 13- Remove aluminum flashing, and attach the bar top to the cabinets.


Step 14- Add a beverage fridge, style to your heart’s desire, and step back and admire.






Happy Humpday!









Can’t leave well enough alone…

Isn’t that the truth?

After last Thursday’s One Room Challenge Reveal, I couldn’t leave well enough alone.


Despite this being a great wall to display my macrame,

macrame wall

I couldn’t shake the feeling that it would be more fun to be looking at the pool, while sitting in the hanging chair.

And so, it had to be. I just needed ONE MORE WINDOW.


So we cleared it ALL out. I know, it really hurt.

And my amazing handyman came over, and made it so…in just a few hours.

And here we are now…


aquahaus-window wall-2

aquahaus-window wall -3

Definitely worth the effort in my opinion.

And the view from outside. I have to paint the trim later this week.

Reminder of the exterior before:

Yay! Progress!

We did get to enjoy it.
pool time

Well, J & I anyways. Archie hates the water.
water dog

Have a great week!

I’m planning a post about the penny bar top later this week, so stay tuned.

Here is the full shot that didn’t make it into the reveal (I have no idea why).