Masthead header

Levi and Family // San Juan Capistrano, CA


I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I think we all had a really fun time hanging out for some family portraits with Levi! We headed to my favorite spot in San Juan Capistrano for summer fun filled portraits and I love the color scheme that Rachael came up with, the yellow and navy blue works really well against the green orange trees and random “rustic” structures we found. Levi has to be one of the most content and happy baby boys I’ve ever met, and his giggle makes my day every time I hear him!


As we were planning for his shoot to capture Levi at six months [which is one of my favorite ages ever to capture], I thought it would be fun to include some of mom and dad’s “reading material” since we probably have a baby genius in our midst… Quantum Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Stochastic Calculus for Finance, Electrodynamics, The Handbook of Fixed Income Securities… sheesh! Dad has a Masters in Financial Engineering from UCLA and Mom is a CPA!


The fun background story is that Rachael and I met at Cal Poly SLO [best school EVER!] in a finance class. After graduation she moved down to the OC for a job while I took at job at Hume Lake for a couple years, but then when I moved back down here we hung out all the time and she’s been one of my dearest friends since. She is one of the most sincere, genuine, easygoing, kind and thoughtful friends you can have and its so fun to meet Levi and see those qualities in him at such a young age too! Oh and his dad is pretty cool too.

I mean, how can you not fall in love with that smile ?!?


His little man polo… I can’t get over how cute it is.


Little guy in the Osh Kosh… awww.


Love love love this family. Happy half birthday Levi!

Now is a great time to get your summer portraits done, to book your family/baby session contact me by clicking here.


Rachael - May 25, 2012 - 9:38 pm

LOVE them Karey!! How am I ever going to decide what to frame. Thanks so much my amazingly talented friend!!!

Karey Michelle - May 26, 2012 - 12:33 am

Yay Rach! that’s the best problem i ever hope to give you, haha! i have all sorts of fun display ideas… wink wink! i am getting my craft hat on this weekend and might have some fun options you’d like πŸ˜‰

Levi // Sneak Peak

This little guy is too cute for words! He will be making a special appearance very very soon…


now go enJOY your day!

Semi-House Tour // Before & After

Zak and I celebrated our first year anniversary in February already, can you believe it? It’s amazing to me how fast the time flies lately. Last year just felt like a BLUR! We bought our first home around Easter and did a little TLC to make it ours, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to share our home with you… but then I realized that will never come! So funny. Everyone was telling us that we will always have projects and the house will never be “done,” but I guess it took awhile for that to sink inΒ  πŸ˜‰

We re-finished the kitchen ourselves, replaced the carpet, and painted everything down to the doorknobs which turned into about a month of work on the place before we finally moved in. We couldn’t have done it without our awesome friends and family… my amazingly generous parents, hardworking friends (Thank you Kari!), and my gracious mother-n-law who flew down from Portland for 10 days to work sunrise to sunset… all made it possible… we were SUPER blessed to have the help and couldn’t have done it without them. Now we can call San Clemente home and we seriously LOVE this town!

We have this right behind our house for hiking and mountain biking…

And the beach just a couple short minutes away for surfing and stand-up paddle boarding, I don’t think it gets much better!


OK, on to our place!

This is what it looked like when we bought it: We loved the open floor plan and huge galley kitchen, it’s really perfect for entertaining which we love to do. This place has good bones.. it’s only 10 years old but needed some updating.


The yellow walls, the oak cabinets, and the floor were all making the kitchen look like it had jaundice, right??


The wood floors were in good shape but we needed to PAINT those walls. They were just tired and needed some new life.


The bedrooms aren’t included because they aren’t quite ready for world wide viewing yet, but I’m sure they will come up in a later post. Our garage is underneath us, and we lucked out with finding a place in our price range in Talega that was NOT a tandem garage. I can’t imagine playing musical chairs with the cars all the time.

Now for the current and updated version, first from the outside where you can see our patio:


The entrance to our home… and the garage entrance is right behind the open front door on the right. Attached garage. Love it.


We had a lot of amazing wedding gifts to display and I love that we have the wall space to display them… there is a portrait of Tom Petty painted by Jessica Fife, posters done by Brady Clark for our wedding, the lace that Jesi Haack found for our wedding, SHULTZ letter blocks made by wonderful friends/clients Dan and Angel, and our Bilums [bags made in PNG]… 2 are Zak’s that he brought home from Papua New Guinea where he grew up, and 2 are mine from my trip there in 2008.


We started taking pictures on my Fuji since our first date so I taped them on the wall and framed them. Most of our prints are pinned on the wall and then I hung an empty frame over them. A lot of them are re-purposed from my office that I had at Turnip Rose or were from Zak’s grandma.


I LOVED this series that John Woods got on our wedding day, I think it sums us up pretty well. The perfect welcome for what to expect in our house πŸ˜‰


The Volcano scent from Anthro is my absolute favorite, and I found it online as a diffuser so I stuck it in the stairwell so it smells awesome as soon as you walk in. I also did a printout of our favorite Instagram pictures in a collage from our dating days.


This is the view as you are looking from the top of the stairs. I also printed out our Honeymoon photos from Fiji in white Ikea frames. Our bedroom is to the left of the clock, and I got that clock from Z Gallerie about 4 years ago. [They don’t carry it anymore but they have the same size in a new design here.] It says “Kensington London” and I love that detail since it reminds me of my study abroad days there in college.


This is what you see as soon as you hit the top of the stairs. It’s a standard beige on the walls for now, I like to keep my color scheme pretty earthy and neutral so it feels more calm and “homey.” And it keeps me less stressed out, haha. We LOVE the natural light we get in here.


Notice all the white trim and white doors? It made it feel so much more pulled together in here. The previous owners had the doors painted a yellow-ish white and even painted them to match the room sometimes, yellow, blue… yeah no.


That blue chair is probably the best seat in the house. During “winter” we turn the fireplace on and it’s the best place to cozy up and relax with a cup of tea. Just ask Jen Disney. It’s a happy spot, she designed my new logo and branding from there! Also the book she made of Zak’s proposal is displayed on our mantle, one of my favorite gifts ever. Thanks Jen! You can also see our guitar that all the guests that came to our wedding signed up on the wall. Oh and the flowers on the coffee table are from Zak being awesome and thoughtful. And can you tell how many Volcano candles I have?? Sheesh. Obsessed much…


Ok now onto the KITCHEN! Our favorite place in the house. Just for reference here was the before again:


And now AFTER! We went for an espresso brown and did it all with the Rustoleum Cabinet Restoration kit. That was a lot of work but I’m really happy with how it came out. No more kitchen jaundice! The color change, the added fixtures, and going with hinges that you can’t see just transformed it completely. We owe a HUGE thank you to Zak’s Uncle Dave the Woodshaper, who was a constant resource and did the hinges for us! He has the coolest woodshop in Costa Mesa with this machine that drilled the holes perfectly with the touch of a button. I can’t even imagine how much time that saved us, thanks again Uncle Dave!


Someday we’ll go for the granite and stainless steel appliances, but for now it’s working pretty dang well for us and I’m happy with what he have.


More kitchen views…. oh and the chairs for the bar I’ve been holding onto since I was 18, I got them when a ceramic studio I worked for called Becca’s went out of business and our boss let me keep some of the furniture. Zak just spray painted them with a metallic silver and they fit in just right.


We have a laundry room just off the kitchen which is wonderful… no hauling loads up and down the stairs to the garage, AWESOME. We got the drying rack from IKEA, recommended by my friend and neighbor Sarah… thanks girl! [We seriously have the BEST neighbors and it makes our home that much better!] We went a little rock-n-roll with the washer and dryer, it was the best deal for the best product when we bought them from Fry’s Electronics in San Diego. We really didn’t care if they matched and I think I actually like it better this way. Zak’s Patsy Cline poster makes it work!


Now for our patio… the version of furniture that I really want is going to take some saving up for, so I found this bistro set on Craigslist and did some spray paint, new cushions, and then my awesome Father-n-Law came down and did a visit in Uncle Dave’s woodshop where they remade the table top for me! I love it. We BBQ quite a bit so now when we have friends over they have a place to hang out while Zak is grilling away.


Also, I have a confession to make: I’ve been OBSESSED with gardening. I’ve been growing a bunch of different herbs and then added some bell peppers and three different kinds of tomato plants. So far so good, but Google and the Plant Depot in San Juan Capistrano have been my best friends lately to learn the gardening art and especially on how to get rid of the aphids and whiteflys. The wicker furniture patio set was thanks to my amazing friends Jen Disney and Ally Michele, they found it on the side of the road in Brea and saved it in a friends backyard, and then all I had to do was clean them up and spray paint! How good of friends are they?? FREE furniture woo hoo!

The tomatoes are on their way!


Next up is our dining table, one of my pride and joys. My mom and I found it at the Salvation Army here in San Clemente, on their 50% off Friday…. this baby was priced at $100 so that means we got it for $50!! It was covered in glitter and markers and needed some cleaning up, so after a week of sanding and staining we made it our new dining table. Please excuse our Ikea fold up chairs, I’m still deciding on what I want πŸ˜‰ But its beautiful, I love everything about it [like the awesome drawers], and it reminded me of what I really wanted at Environmental Furniture in South Coast Plaza for waaaaaayyyyyyy less. Win.


Soooooo, thats it for our SEMI-house tour! I have some more changes for the patio planned, the laundry room needs some more TLC, and then there is my office space, and the bedrooms of course. But I’m pretty proud of what we have done so far, and looking forward to the projects that will pull more of it together. Hope you enJOYed it! We are:)


Jen Disney - May 24, 2012 - 4:24 pm

That’s my spot!!!! I got lots of shout out’s on this post! Looks great! I love your cozy b&b!

Karey Michelle - May 24, 2012 - 4:31 pm

haha yes you did! your b&b is waiting for another stay!

Tara - May 24, 2012 - 7:31 pm

Ok, I love that you posted this because I miss you and feel like we just hung out at your house. First off, that table is nuts! That was a major score and now I’m coveting!!!! I love your patio, I wish we could sit by your garden talking for hours. Your kitchen turned out great! You guys did such a good job.


jaynie - May 24, 2012 - 8:37 pm

wow, kare! great work! i LOVE the kitchen cabinets. can’t wait to visit this house in person and sip some coffee on that fancy patio of yours :)

Karey Michelle - May 24, 2012 - 10:34 pm

yay! and i can’t wait for the day you do come and hang out on my patio with me!! i would love nothing more. loveyoumissyoumeanit too. πŸ˜‰

Karey Michelle - May 24, 2012 - 10:36 pm

thanks lady i love that YOU love it!! PLEASE come down, that would be amazing! would love love love it. soon.

Amanda - May 24, 2012 - 10:37 pm

Wow Karey!! Looks beautiful!! What a great feel your place seems to have! Nice changes!! :) Luv’n the yummy lush herb garden! How have you been? Next time I’m in southern Cali, I’ll be heading to Laguna beach again….pretty close to you! Would love to hang out! :) I keep thinking of what you told me last time I saw you! Thank you so much!! :) It really helped! Hope all is well…
XO! Amanda

Sarah Ludwig - May 24, 2012 - 11:19 pm

Amazing Karey! I absolutely love your house…it is beautiful and looks so cozy. I love that is so represents you and Zak…which makes me miss you! So glad you are enjoying this time of life! :) Love you friend!

Cousin Brooke - May 25, 2012 - 9:22 am

Your house looks BEAUTIFUL! Incredible work. I can’t wait to see it in person. Lots of Hugs!! B

Karey Michelle - May 26, 2012 - 12:35 am

thank you Brookie! we can’t wait for the “in-person” part to happen too… make it summer time and we’ll make a beach day out of it! can’t wait!

elizabeth - June 12, 2012 - 10:55 pm

Wow! You did an amazing job… and that table for $50 is INCREDIBLE!

Karey Michelle - June 13, 2012 - 4:35 pm

thanks so much Elizabeth! yeah that table was such a steal right?? so happy! :)

Susan - August 3, 2012 - 12:06 pm

Your home is beautiful. I love the updates you’ve made. And that table was the first thing that caught my eye in the very first peek at the living room. I also love what you did with the curtains. I don’t know what they had going on there before (seems so strange) but it looks great now!