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Author Archive | Jessica Bruno

Jessica Bruno

We are a crew of four generations all living together under one roof. We share our
Do-It-Yourself renovations, project tutorials, room makevers and bits of what life is like living together under one roof. Could you live with multiple generations?

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Here are my most recent posts

A new portico for our home

A few weeks ago, my dad decided to rip apart the existing portico on our home and build a new one.  My parents have wanted to increase the size of the portico for a couple years.  Throughout the years, my parents have added on to our home on numerous occasions tripling the square footage and the original one became dwarfed in the process. This isn’t the best picture below, but you can see the original one below.

a new portico for our home

A portico is simply a porch that leads to the entry of a building. Our original structure was supported by simple columns which were 2×4′s. As you can see, it’s a little small for the home.

a new portico for our home

Once the portico is finished, the next step in our curb appeal project is shutters! As you can see below, the old structure has been removed.

a new portico for our home

Unfortunately, my dad removed the entire roof while I was away for the weekend in NYC so I don’t have any pictures of the demolition process.

a new portico for our home

My husband and I drove in from being away for the weekend and I said to my husband, “the front portico is gone?” My husband said, “what are you talking about, that roof thing?” ha.

The existing cement step was definitely to small for the new project so we framed around the step with 2×4′s and 2×10′s and created a new larger landing.

a new portico for our homeThe new step will be constructed using maintenance free vinyl decking which will be fastened to this frame.

a new portico for our homeThe new portico is coming along nicely and it already is creating a new look for the front of our home. Our curb appeal project is in full swing and hopefully this project, will be done soon so we can move on to adding the new shutters. I think that the new portico and shutters are going to completely transform the front of our home. Don’t you think so?

PS. Did you enter to win the gorgeous girls and boys bedding from Pine Cone Hill?


Family updates + Wayfair giveaway ends today

This week actually flew by for us. I don’t know where the summer is going. My grandfather said to me the other day as he painted his Christmas gifts, “kid, Christmas is almost here, I need to get these painted!” It seemed a bit ridiculous that Christmas is almost here but he is right, before we know it, we will be celebrating Christmas and shoveling snow. Ugh!

family updates

My husband is on vacation starting today for the next week so we will be spending time at the lake and chilling out, although we plan on doing some work this weekend with my dad re-bracing the deck that the camper is adjacent to. Some of the deck boards are rotted and also need to be replaced so hopefully we get this project completed this weekend and can enjoy the rest of the vacation week relaxing.

Today is also the last day to enter the Wayfair $100 gift card giveaway that is being held over on our instagram page. Simply find this image below on our instagram page and leave a comment (on instagram) sharing your favorite childhood memory. Click here to enter.

summer picnic on the dock-1

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy spending time with family and friends. I am over at the Home Goods blog today sharing our summer dining room and how to add a bit of coastal to your space with lanterns and sisal. I would love some company so hop on over and say hello!

Boys Back to School bedding + Pine Cone Hill Giveaway

Thank you so much yesterday for all of your comments and emails regarding our girls back to school bedding ensemble. Today is the BOYS day! In case you missed yesterdays post, Pine Cone Hill asked me to be a guest bedding stylist and create two fresh smart rooms. One for a boy and one for a girl. Whether your boy just became a teenager or is heading off to college, you will love this boys back to school bedding themed room I put together. It’s classic and casual and in my opinion, pretty cool. The best news, we are giving away this exact duvet today here on the blog! Keep reading, the giveaway is coming up.

back to school boys bedding with pine cone hillI love coordinating navy and khaki for boys and the boxer pillow is the perfect finishing touch. What I love about this room is the duvet is interchangeable and would look great with any color or pattern. In my experience boys don’t tend to change their minds as often as girls when it comes to bedding but for me, I love a neutral duvet, just in case “mom” decides she wants something different ;). You know how that goes right?

 Duvet / striped blanket / boxer pillow / chambray sham / striped pouf / striped rug / laptop case / oatmeal box spring cover

Are you ready to enter to win your own boys back to school bedding / duvet ensemble?

Enter below via the rafflecopter widget

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to school is such a stressful time for parents and kids, why not make the transition a little easier with a fun bedroom makeover or create a new space at school that your child will love. There is nothing better than climbing into a comfy cozy bed at night. So what do you think, are you loving this boys back to school bedding ensemble? I want it for my room! :) If you haven’t already entered our girls bedding giveaway, you can enter here.

PS. Be sure to head over to Pine Cone Hill  as they are also giving away a couple items from our room above. The boxer pillow is up for grabs!!!!

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post however all words and opinions are 100% my own. Pine Cone Hill quality is fabulous. 

Girls Back To School Bedding + Pine Cone Hill bedding giveaway

Do we have a treat for you today! Can I just tell you, while this is a sponsored post, it happens to be one of my favorites of all time! Pine Cone Hill contacted me a couple months ago about collaborating on a boys and girls back to school bedding theme in celebration of their 20th anniversary. If you have not heard of Pine Cone Hill, it’s time I introduce you. They are an Annie Selke Company outside of Boston. Their fun home textiles have been making waves in the home design industry since 1994, when Annie started the business with an industrial sewing machine on her dining room table.Whether you’re building a beautiful boudoir or a rustic retreat, Pine Cone Hill has everything you need, in top-quality fabrics and imaginative designs. I have purchased many Annie Selke products in the past and they are all exceptional quality and gorgeous to-boot!

Boho girls back to school bedding with pinecone hill

They wanted me to create two fresh rooms, one for a boy (boy is tomorrow!) and one for a girl who may be in their teens or heading off to college. This was one of the funnest projects ever! I had my two teenage stepdaughters in mind when I created this gorgeous girls theme we are sharing today.

Girls back to school bedding with Pine Cone Hill

I am certainly not a professional stylist, just a mom who loves color, fun patterns and the latest modern trend. I am in love with this room! Even if your daughter isn’t heading off to college, wouldn’t it be fun to create a big girl themed bedroom using fun color and pattern? I used fuchsia and aqua as my base colors and white (the sheets) to balance the bold theme. Don’t worry, I am going to give you the source for every product that I chose and where it can be found over at Pine Cone Hill. The best news though, Pine Cone Hill is giving away this exact twin size duvet and standard pillow sham set to one of you today, here on our blog.

girls back to school bedding get this look #backtoschool #dormlife

 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

Are you ready to enter to win your own duvet and sham set?

Enter below via the rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to school is such a fun time to redecorate or invest in gorgeous bedding for your child heading off to school. Celebrate the new phase in your girls life with a fresh smart bedding ensemble and coordinating accessories to give her a stylish room to do homework or settle down in at the end of the day. Stop back tomorrow because we will be sharing our boys theme room and you will not believe how cool it looks! It is fantabulous!!!! Yes, we will be giving away more boys bedding tomorrow ;).

PS. do you want to win more items in my room above, head over to visit me on the Fresh American blog where I am a guest stylist. Pine Cone Hill is giving away another featured item. (goes live at 11am est 7/15/14)

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. However, all words and opinions are 100% my own. 

Summer picnic on the dock + $100 Gift Card Giveaway

We are in the middle of extending our boat dock to accommodate our new pontoon. The existing dock is in fairly decent shape but needed to be a bit longer. It happens to be a perfect spot to catch some sun and relax so when Wayfair asked if I would like to create a childhood memory using a few of their products, I jumped at the chance.

summer picnic on the dock

When I was a kid, my mom was constantly filling little baggies full of snacks for us kids and we would all sit around on the grass giggling or poolside and share our food. I find myself now as a mom, doing the same exact thing. I love to pack a basket or cooler full of our favorite drinks and snacks and find a cozy spot to sit and enjoy the goodies.

summer picnic on the dock

The lounger from Wayfair along with the insulated picnic cooler basket are perfect for enjoying a day in the sun. They are very reasonably priced as well. Click the product links to see ;).

summer picnic on the dock

I decided to also add a few tiki torch lights around the dock as well. They give off a warm flicker light which looks fabulous at night.

summer picnic on the dock

My son especially loves when we pack a picnic cooler full of our favorites and hang out for snack time.

Our summer picnic on the dock

It’s amazing how life comes full circle as you grow older and remember things from your childhood. I often wonder if he will remember these moments as I do my own childhood memories. I guess I can only hope, right? Our lakeside campsite has been so much so far this summer. . It has been a tremendous blessing in that it offers the peace and serenity we were looking for. Guess what, Wayfair is giving away a $100 gift card to their site via our instagram page. Be sure to check out our instagram page where I will be sharing one of these images above and asking you to leave a comment (on instagram) sharing your favorite childhood memory.  A winner will be chosen at random by the end of the week. Good luck!

Disclosure: I did receive complimentary products for this post. I was not told what to purchase or display, All opinions and words are 100% my own.

Our New York City Trump Plaza SOHO trip

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I headed to New York City as part of a business trip through my husband’s employer. NYC is a little over three hours from our home so we left early one morning and were in the city by noon-time. It was an all expense paid trip which was even better! We stayed at the Trump Plaza in SOHO which is a neighborhood in lower Manhattan and is known for upscale trendy boutiques, brick roads and walkways as well as a slew of chain outlet stores. It’s a wonderful place to shop!

NYC SOHO trump plaza trip

The rooms are gorgeous and have fabulous views of Manhattan. I pulled these two images off the Trump Collection site as my images I took with my phone, didn’t do the room justice.

soho trump place manhattan room

The day we arrived was rainy and overcast but that didn’t stop us from enjoying a delicious lunch at the Aqua Grill next door to the Trump Plaza.

New York City SOHO Trump Plaza Trip

The crab cake sandwich is unbelievable! We toured lower Manhattan and ventured through many of the boutiques.

New York City SOHO Trump Plaza Trip

Every large chain outlet you can imagine is here.

New York City SOHO Trump Plaza Trip

My husband mostly enjoyed the people watching aspect. The hustle and bustle of New York City is one you must experience at least one time in your life. We are fortunate to be close enough that a one night stay is doable and I must say, I don’t think I could live in city but it’s so fun to visit a couple times a year.

New York City SOHO Trump Plaza Trip

After a busy afternoon of window shopping, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for the evening.

New York City SOHO Trump Plaza Trip

They had a special dinner planned at the KOI Restaurant which was amazing.

New York City SOHO Trump Plaza Trip

After a four hour dinner, we were exhausted!

New York City SOHO Trump Plaza Trip

The next morning we were served a breakfast at the Le Train Blue restaurant at Bloomingdales on 6th ave followed by a complimentary shopping experience with our own personal shopper.

New York City SOHO Trump Plaza Trip

The dining experience on the roof top in the train is worth trying. So much fun!

New York City SOHO Trump Plaza Trip

I had no idea there was even a restaurant at the top of Bloomingdales. It’s a secret restaurant!

NYC SOHO Trump Plaza Trip

As a special bonus for my husband, he was given a gift card so we could purchase a few fun items. Yay! Our personal shopper was Lynnette who was fantastic! It was so much fun having someone pull the latest trends in your personal size and literally dress you! ha.

NYC SOHO Trump Plaza Trip-

The cafe and dressing rooms provided for your personal shopping experience are amazing.

NYC SOHO Trump Plaza Trip-

Photo sources: Gawker /  Bloomingdales / Trump Collection

Our New York City trip was a blast and we can’t wait to go back.

NYC SOHO Trump Plaza Trip-7

Unfortunately, traffic in New York City  is a total drag so it took us almost 6 hours to get home. Note to self, get out of the city by 11am if leaving on a Friday to head back to Boston ;).

4 Generations celebrate the 4th of July {helicopter rides}

Happy belated 4th of July! Our 4th wasn’t exactly full of sun bathing and boating as hurricane Arthur blew through leaving us with a day of rain but the day wasn’t a complete washout. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast at a local restaurant and then we took the kids, along with my parents, to see the movie Malifecent. The movie was fabulous and I would totally see it again.

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

We ended up celebrating our holiday on Saturday, the 5th at an annual Western themed event hosted by a family friend and owner of where my dad works. Remember I told you a while back, some of us also work together? You can read all about that on our workplace page.

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

There were bull rides, water slides, face painting, an old tyme photo booth and of course helicopter rides.

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

They enjoyed getting “tossed!”

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

I mean, every party has a helicopter to tour around in right? ;)

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

My step daughters refused to go unless I went with them and I refused up until the end. There were two helicopters so my dad took my son and I went with the girls.

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

The words, “you are shattering our dream to ever ride in a helicopter by not going with us,” was enough to make me go.

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

My husband had to work this day so unfortunately, he wasn’t able to join us so needless to say, I had no choice but scare the crap out of myself and go on the ride.

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

I don’t like heights and the thought of riding in a helicopter made me sick to even think about it.

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

The fact that there were no doors on the helicopter was even worse. This one above though, has no fear. She was waiving, giggling, snapping pictures and hanging out the opening. Crazy. I just closed my eyes and screamed most of the way.

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

I will admit, once we were finally on the ground and all safe and sound, it was a completely exhilerating experience. Will I do it again, I don’t think so!  I told the girls to ask my grandfather to take them in the helicopter and he said, “are you crazy, I might be old but I am not stupid!”

4 generations celebrate the 4th of July

We had a blast and the day flew by. It ended with a night full of fireworks at the campground which we enjoyed on our new deck.

4 generations celebrate the 4th of JulyOur 4th of July weekend was one I will never forget and I’m sure the kids won’t either.  I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend with friends and family. It’s amazing that one week is already gone from July and half the month will be over before we know it. Where does time go? I swear the older we get, the faster it goes!

We bought a pontoon boat {summer fun}

This summer we decided to take the leap and purchase the camper and recently the pontoon boat. We have been talking about camping on the lake for three years and when the lakeside campsite became available in May, we decided to buy the boat too. The kids are getting older and before we know it, they will want nothing to do with us so we figured we better get busy! ha

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

We knew nothing about boats and were unsure if we wanted a ski boat or a pontoon.

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

We learned so much during the buying process about boats that it deserves a post of it’s own. I will share how to buy a boat soon, a newbie perspective. Ultimately, the pontoon boat, aka the party boat, won. It seats 10 people and is perfect for all four generations.

I won’t lie, when the boat was delivered, I was really nervous!

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

I had no idea how to drive it, never mind dock it. We purchased the boat from Rockingham Boat in Salem, NH and they were fabulous to deal with. They not only gave us a great deal, they delivered the boat and spent almost 2 hours out on the lake showing us everything about the boat and most importantly, how to drive, how to be safe and how to dock it.

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

If you are ever in the market for a boat, Wayne the owner, is wonderful! Tell him we sent you.

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

My mom loves to head out for a sunset cruise.

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}When my husband gets home from work, I usually have packed our dinner and we head out for dinner on the boat. If you are on the fence about buying a boat, let this be the deciding factor, dinner on the boat followed by a sunset cruise is worth every penny!

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

My grandfather is super excited to ride on the boat. He hasn’t made it out yet because he has been so busy painting 30 Santa Clause cut outs. Yup, the man is making Christmas gifts. I don’t think my gram will attempt to get on the boat, that’s all we need is for her to fall in the water with her walker. Yikes!

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}My husband is like a kid in a candy store with this boat, he loves it! We spent this past weekend tubing and the kids had a blast.

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

My son is really young and he insisted on tubing so of course, I went with him. I am not a fan of tubing but I will admit, it was a little fun ;).

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

My step daughter’s and niece especially enjoyed tubing.

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

I actually prefer to sit in the sun.

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

Fun memories for sure!

We bought a Pontoon Boat {summer fun}

We are headed to the lake for a few days to enjoy a little rest and relaxation. We are taking some much needed time off and I will be back sharing on the blog in a few days. Enjoy your week and the upcoming holiday!

Our Boston Globe feature

A few weeks ago we are contacted by the Boston Globe to share our living arrangement and more specifically, my parents perspective as a baby boomer living now with their own parents and grown children. My mom did a fabulous job on her interview and we all had a blast during the photo shoot, even my grandfather who insisted on wearing his pajama’s! I fixed that problem quickly. ha

Boston Globe Four Generations One Roof Baby Boomer Sandwich Generation Boston Globe

Thank you so much to the wonderful editors and photographer over at the Boston Globe for sharing our multigenerational family and my parent’s perspective on the Sandwich Generation. You see the full article here.

Colorful Outdoor Accents {lets play with color!}

My mom said to me the other day, we need  some color around the pool. We took our porch furniture and some of our other outdoor items to the lake and needless to say, it left us shopping our home for other items to spruce up the pool area. There are so many ways to add color to your outdoor spaces. Here are a few of our favorites.

how to add color - colorful outdoor accents

Using paint or spray paint is the fastest solution to change out a piece of furniture. This blue pallet coffee table adds a pop of color that coordinates nicely with the yellow bench and green chair.

colorful outdoor accents

Whether the shutter is functional or simply an accent piece, the turquoise color is fabulous against the black striped pattern cushions.

blue shutter

How about spray painting a few outdoor chairs lime green?

green chairs

A bright colored umbrella not only offers shade but it adds character and color to a table or seating area.

orange umbrella

Love the turquoise pillows against the neutral background.


Planting colorful annuals in a container is a great way to add warmth and color to a space. Be sure to checkout our post earlier this week on how to decorate with container plants. It’s not to late to add a few of your own to your outdoor space.

purple flowers

This is probably one of my favorite ways to add color outdoors, paint a door!

turqoise door


Blue pallet table / Shutter /Green chairs /Orange umbrella / Turquoise pillows / Flowers / Blue door

Colorful outdoor accents come in a variety of all shapes and sizes. If you have something you love and it’s the wrong color, perhaps you can paint it? Flowers are the easiest way to add a seasonal touch while creating that home feeling as well. Working with what you have or purchasing inexpensive throw pillows will certainly get you on your way as it did us. We searched all of our rooms and storage sheds and were amazed at what we found lying beneath the stacks of “stuff” that we have accumulated over the years. Some of us are headed to the lake for the weekend to enjoy a little rest and relaxation. Have a wonderful weekend!

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