Secret Agent

Investigating the best in Utah Homes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


My kids had an Easter egg hunt in my in-laws backyard last weekend and we were enchanted by this magical little fairy house they built this year in their flower bed:

So maybe it actually looked like this, but that is how I imagine it looks at night when no one is watching!

My in-laws poured the concrete and added the stones themselves. I love this personal, artistic touch to the landscaping. I can only imagine how it will look once the plants and flowers grow in around it.
This concrete mushroom house reminded me of a real-life "mushroom" home I saw up for sale in New York a few years ago.  The architecture as well as the artistic appeal of every little detail is fascinating to me. Click on the link below and then make sure to click through the photos to see all the interiors details as well!

Friday, March 28, 2014


I am so happy we are emerging from the GRAY of winter. Signs of spring color and warmth are popping up everywhere! Thinking about the happiness spring brings made me think about how we can bring a little happiness into our homes with color, too.
When my friend Susannah built her house, she was concerned that she had picked out too much gray. I LOVE the gray and I love even more she made sure her house didn't have the feeling of "boring old gray" at all! She did it by adding pops of color. I adore this cute little side table she refinished in a bright yellow and put it in her living room. It is one of my favorite pieces in her beautiful new house:


There are many easy ways to paint furniture, but this is how Susannah did it:

She lightly sanded away the clear finish by hand to make sure the paint would stick and not flake off. and off the remaining dust. Then, she sprayed on a coat of spray paint primer, let it dry, and applied a couple coats of yellow spray paint. That was it! I love the new life breathed into this vintage old table. Are you brave enough to try a pops of color in your home?

If you are wondering what your current home value is, what homes around you are selling for, or what homes are available, I would love to get that information for you, just let me know!

Monday, March 3, 2014


The Oscars are over this year and I'm already looking ahead to winners for next year. Do you think anything slated to come out the rest of 2014 rivals The LEGO Movie for Best Animated Film? I don't. But then, I'm also a huge closet LEGO Nerd. LEGOs are kind of, well, AWESOME!

And here is where I admit the epitome of my LEGO nerdiness: I collect LEGO minifigures.

And so do my kids because they, too, are awesome.

We lost a LOT of "minifigs" over the first couple of series because we didn't have anywhere to keep them. All those little pieces in the hands of first and second graders -- it was a losing battle. And heartbreaking. I finally came up with my own solution to saving and better enjoying our collections. All it took was a few IKEA frames, the inside white paper flipped so no print showed, square LEGO bricks (2 x 2), and hot glue. (DEFINITELY not Krazy glue. And we're gluing the display pieces, not the people, people. The people are FREE. We would have learned nothing from that movie.)

 Here is what my son's collection looks like:

And here is what my daughter's collection looks like, proving LEGOs belong in even super-girly rooms:

Now that the best pieces have a place, what do you do with the rest of those LEGOs? I love my friend Brittany's solution:
Sort by color and then . . .
Everything is AWESOME!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


My beautiful and super skinny friend Sarah LOVES candy. Not to eat, but to decorate with. Which makes sense, right? Candy is gorgeous!

For my birthday a few years ago, she brought me this super cute flower in a vase filled with chocolate covered almonds. By some kind of miracle, I only ate 70% of the candy while I used it as an Easter decoration and the rest of it survived in my craft room as a permanent year-round decoration:

Sarah is like me in that she doesn't like to clutter her house with lots of cheesy holiday decorations. But, the kids. Oh, the kids how they love those cheesy decorations. Sarah found a solution that works for her and decided she would focus her holiday decorating to one spot in her house -- she chose the mantle above her fireplace.

When I was at Sarah's house this month it made me smile to see that she was decorating with candy in jars in her house, too. I love everything about her homemade Valentine's Mantle.

The topiary tree is made from crepe paper roses, the love letters are modge podge and paint. The wreaths are made from felt circles that are folded and pinned into the heart foam wreaths. She said all of it was super simple, it just took time. I'm sure you'll agree with me though, it was well worth it!

Monday, February 3, 2014


First of all, it is all I can do to ONLY tell you about my friend Brittany's amazing stained concrete floors in this blog post because there are a billion little details in her house that are even more crazy amazing than these floors. If you can imagine. Seriously. I adore what she has done to make her house a home for her cute family.

Just wait. You'll see.

But for today, you can drool over these floors. I had heard of staining your basement concrete but I couldn't imagine that it would actually look good. I was skeptical until the moment I saw it with my own eyes. How nice does this look?

Brittany hired a sketchy guy from the classifieds that luckily turned out to be pretty much a concrete artist. He drilled the lines and filled them with grout to give it all the appearance of tile. And though the concrete was already beat up with paint splatters and cracks and all sorts of imperfections, it now looks like it all belongs.

You probably won't believe me unless you stand on it yourself, but the concrete doesn't even feel cold. And the rich color makes the feel warm and inviting. A nice, big carpet rug warms up the center of the room even more, and the rest of the floor is perfect for her house full of boys. She lets them dribble basketballs, ride their scooters, and just be BOYS down there.

It makes me really, really wish I had been this brave when I was finishing my basement. It's beautiful!


Monday, January 27, 2014


My super cute new neighbor, Cassie, is an interior designer so I had high expectations when she let me tour her house last month. Her eye for creating beautiful spaces went beyond anything I could have imagined.  One of my favorite rooms in her home was a windowless basement bedroom. Anyone who thinks you can't make a basement bedroom beautiful, I'm here to prove you wrong.

Charming french doors open up to . . . a dream Paris-themed room.

The amazing thing about Cassie is she does all her decorating on a budget. Her rooms are full of refinishing projects and discount-store finds.


Word of advice: Don't show you daughters these pictures. Take it from me, they will never be happy with their own room ever again. Also, if she ever redecorates this room, my daughter has dibs on everything in it.


Sunday, January 19, 2014


When you walk in my house, the first thing you usually see is where my kids came in and threw up their school day: a huge pile of backpacks, winter coats, shoes, hats, papers and art projects. On its BEST day my "mudroom" looks something like this:

When we built our house, we really had ourselves convinced this space was good enough to hold the bazillion pairs of shoes we wear every day.
Not. even. close.

I've been looking for a cute storage solution for all these shoes for years.

I've seen shelves in the garage. This does not work for me. I've killed mice and black widows in that garage. I am not putting my shoes out there for them to live in.

I've seen the "wall of squares". We even went to The Home Depot and priced out MDF to build a wall of squares in this corner. The price was still almost $150. For MDF! I waited for a better solution. And I'm glad I did because last month I visited two homes who really figured this thing out.

Check out my neighbor Keysha's beautiful custom cabinetry:

My favorite part about this is how real is it. Inside that cabinet her shoes are as big a mess as mine. But with the doors closed -- Poof! Gone! Brilliant.

But I don't have the money to buy custom cabinetry right now so I pretty much had this on my "five year wish list". Then, I visited my brother and his wife Heather and saw this in their house:

My brother made this with three upper cabinets from Lowes and added a piece of trim at the top.

I. Love. It.

It's pretty economical to buy these from Lowes, but I am on the lookout for used cabinets that I can paint a cute green like Keysha's. Who knew the solution to shoe storage could be so simple?

If you have another great idea for shoe storage, share it with us!

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