Beyond Rustic Home Decor

Sexy Nerd and I are Parade of Homes enthusiasts, eagerly traveling near and far to see the latest ideas in home design. The parade that tops our list every year? The Summit County Parade of Homes in breathtaking Colorado, which is timed perfectly to coincide with the changing of the aspen leaves. In such a perfect setting, driving from home to home is half the fun.

I'm currently working on a blog post showcasing my favorite parade photos. One home, however, was so spectacular I couldn't wait another moment to share it with you. It's so amazing, we want to redesign our dream home to emulate the same rustic style. Actually, that's a bit of an understatement. Beyond rustic, this home is packed with old-timey, gold panning, one-toothed mining style! Sexy Nerd has begun growing his grizzled mountain man beard and I'm ready to call our builder to stop construction. Not that that's necessary, as construction seems to be stopped anyway. (We're in week 3 of pouring our foundation...still no foundation...)

157 Riverwood Drive in Breckenridge, CO, nestled romantically against the Blue River.
It's the last home on the parade because they saved the best for last. 

Below is the same exact house in its pre-renovation photo:

Betcha wouldn't have guessed the best house ever was a remodeled home from 1991.
It jumped from 3,404 square feet to a whopping 4,900!

The new owners embraced the mining history of their location, using it as a source of inspiration and an excuse to have fun with their design.  

My exact kind of flooring. At least, it is now that I've visited this home. Porcelain brick-look tile throughout the house we're building? I don't recall anything about that.

(Sexy Nerd does recall that and he is endlessly frustrated with me.)

The under-cabinet lighting in this otherwise moody bathroom was a nice touch.

What a clever alternative to a ceiling fan.

The wood-look tile on the wall is great, but I'm smiling because of the Delta faucet with Champagne Bronze finish. We chose the same brand and finish for our powder room. We're the same, these folks and us! Surely, they'll agree to trade houses for a week-long getaway. They could come to Albuquerque for our world-renowned International Balloon Fiesta.

You know, assuming our house is ever actually ready.

The house is rustic, but the homeowners still managed to create a glamorous space for themselves in the master bathroom. Oh, and there's more.

The beautiful Delta shower hardware you're looking at? We chose the exact same fixtures for our master shower.



The bathroom above is my favorite bathroom of all time. The vanity is an ore cart, designed so it looks like it's going into the wall.

Still not convinced this home deserves the Best. House. Ever. title? Take a look out the window:

The landscaping includes a mine, complete with rail tracks and a cart. 

Also, why did I trust Sexy Nerd to take the photos? It's the coolest landscape detail ever and we couldn't get a photo of it when we were outside?

 This was a close runner up for the favorite bathroom distinction mentioned above. I felt like we were visiting a mining museum.

But, you know, not boring.

Old timey!

Cheesy Chili Dinner Waffles

This is one of our favorite dinners. How convenient that it also happens to be quick and easy!

It's not the prettiest waffle around, though my blue Noritake Colorwave plate tried to fool you into thinking otherwise.

This is a recipe you should bookmark. These chili-covered cornmeal waffles seem like the kind of meal you worked really hard on, even though they take no effort at all. Sexy Nerd is certainly impressed whenever he comes home to this dinner.


The superstar of this meal is the cornmeal waffle, so feel free to use canned chili if you're crunched for time lazy. (No judgement!) If you're feelin' fancy though, I have a great chili recipe for you:

LambAround's Easy Peasy Chili
(serves 3)
1 can tomatoes with green chile
1 can white beans
3 Tbsp creamed corn
1/2 - 1 lb cooked ground beef (the amount depends on how carnivorous you're feeling)
1 diced bell pepper
1 diced white onion
1 diced garlic clove
1 dried red chili pepper (be sure to remove this after cooking!)
1 bay leaf (ditto)
Hefty dash each of cumin and red chili flakes

Simmer all ingredients in a covered pan for at least 45 minutes.
(Easy peasy, right?)

Cornmeal Waffles
(Also easy peasy. I am the queen of lazy.)
(I'd prefer to be the undisputed leader of all laziness, but I'm too lazy to make that happen.)

Take your favorite regular waffle recipe. (Okay, obviously not something crazy, like mint chip brownie waffles with butterscotch, as good as that sounds. Work with me here, people.) Substitute half the flour with cornmeal and throw in a sprinkle of your favorite seasoned salt. I love Season All. If using a mix, like Bisquick, substitute half the mix with cornmeal.

When cooking, resist the urge to pull these from the waffle iron early. I know you want to eat them right now, but your patience will be rewarded. The cornmeal gives these a nice, crispy exterior - the perfect base for a hearty chili.

Next comes the best part.

Cheese! What isn't made better with cheese?
(Well, probably those mint chip brownie waffles with butterscotch I mentioned earlier.)

Shredded cheddar works great for this, but Sexy Nerd loooves those plasticy American cheese slices.

Top with hot, flavorful chili...

...and smother with gobs of shredded mozzarella cheese! Because why use just one kind of cheese when you can have two, right?

It's a manly dinner, albeit one served on beautiful floral plates.

The Sexy Nerd thumbs-up of approval!

Noritake Colorwave Floral Accent Plate Collection

Dinnerware, my one splurge. Well, that and traveling. And chocolate. And clothes. And, the moment we move into our new house on 13.1 acres, shelter dogs that look like Biscuit. That last one is still unbeknownst to Sexy Nerd, who thankfully does not read my blog.

But back to my main point. I love my Noritake Colorwave Floral Accent Plates! We registered for one of each design for our wedding, but received only 4. My mom thought we'd registered for stupid things and refused to tell anyone where to find our registry. My grandma didn't care though. Thank you for the 4 plates, Grandma.

 Isn't she just the cutest grandma ever? She's teenier every time I see her. At Christmas this year, I expect her to be about a foot tall, maybe a foot and a half.

Accent plate, smaccent plate, Mom. Get enough of them and you have a respectable dinnerware set!

My collection is perfect for everyday dining as well as more formal occasions.

You know, the kind of everyday dining where you're constantly paranoid about breaking a $20 plate. Sexy Nerd and I are both extremely careful with our plates, which is 10% due to fear of losing one, 90% thanks to a mutually agreed-upon-but-never-spoken battle for power within our marriage. I will not be the first person to break one!

I suspect Sexy Nerd has actually broken quite a few by now but has frantically replaced them before I noticed.

This is dinnerware that can withstand the entertaining frequency of even the most antisocial. I'm looking right at you, Sexy Nerd.

Okay, I should really just look in a mirror. One day though, I will throw the most fabulous dinner parties. I'm already prepared, with everything I need squirreled away throughout our house. Did you know we have monogrammed napkins, a variety of platters, and itty bitty decorative toothpick flags stored in one of many "party boxes"? I'm an epic entertainer, in my mind.

Oh, and it gets worse. I actually invite people to these mind parties that I know will never exist. Sexy Nerd is having a grand birthday/housewarming party eleven months from now and everyone is invited. That party is not going to happen. Three sentences in a row with italics? THAT'S A VERY BAD SIGN, HOPEFUL PARTY GUESTS! 

But I'm getting off topic.

Has my collection increased a little since this photo was taken? It has increased a lot! If Noritake makes it, I need it.

Party time! You know, at some point in the future, possibly.

Construction Update. Week...Who Knows?

A million weeks in and all we have to show for it is a pile of dirt. Shouldn't we be living in the house by now? Things were progressing nicely and the crew dug the trenches to pour our concrete footings.

Note how clean and dry they are. This is exactly what you want to see.

Imagining how awesome life will be in front of the future fireplace.

Then, this happened:

(Of course, you would already know this if you followed me on Facebook and Twitter. Hint, hint.)
My mom was one of the first to reply, reassuring as always...

Here's what we saw the next day:

The footings are full of mud and water and hopes and dreams.

We also saw this, which didn't exactly give us confidence in our construction crew:

We've chosen a good builder...right?
Also, what the hell?

Our construction site is at the bottom of the hill, so over the course of our annual monsoon season, all the rain and mud pretty much washed any progress away. Each time there were a few dry days in a row, the crew blasted the mud off the concrete and attempted to get back on track. Inevitably, this happened again every time:

But they just got all the mud cleaned off!

Our foreman threw in the towel and called Sexy Nerd, saying there was no point trying again until the weather changed. Weeks passed.

And now?
Progress (FINALLY!), though the walls don't look quite even to me. Sexy Nerd insists it's because of the camera and that our walls won't actually be wonky in real life.

These concrete footings are so strong, even kicking them won't knock them over.
Not that you'd try that, of course. That would be crazy.

Don't tell the builder. He's had enough of my nonsense already.

And our construction news is about to get even better. We're getting a foundation this week! Let's see what the ol' live camera feed at our neighborhood thinks of that:

Here we go again.

(Want to see all our construction updates? Click the "Construction & Decorating" button at the top of this page.)
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