Our Built-in Closet

When we moved into our new home we had to make a lot of design decisions (and we still have a lot more to make). One thing we decided was that we didn’t want to put a dresser in our bedroom-we wanted to put a little seating area instead. That meant that our closet was going to have to be extremely organized with lots of storage areas to fit everything we had. It took us a while to get this project started, so in the meantime our closet was a complete DISASTER. I’m a little embarrassed to share these before pictures with you all!

Before:

As you can see, everything was still in suitcases, boxes, bags, whatever was available. It looked awful, made it impossible to find specific things, and was embarrassing!!!

We made our plan for the layout, and all of the materials for the closet came from Home Depot.  We knew we needed drawers, shelves, lots of hanging space, and OF COURSE space for shoes & bags!

First we had to clear everything out and remove all the existing shelves.  My husband moved the light switch from inside the closet to the outside (isn’t he amazing!!).  He also took off the existing base molding and painted a white semi gloss 3/4 of the way up the walls so it would match the color of our built-ins.

After assembling some of the pieces in the living room, it was time to start the installation!

Since we have two toddlers at home we really wanted to ensure that all the pieces were sturdy and installed correctly.  We used brackets to make sure none of the pieces would move or tip over.

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Once we had all the pieces installed we had to go around and caulk, add trim where needed, and put the baseboard back on.  As you can see there were some pretty big gaps between the pieces in some areas.

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We used Power Grab glue to glue down the trim.  Here are some pictures of the trim:

This closet is officially FINISHED now and it is everything I dreamed about!  It has a space for everything we need and keeps everything organized.  Plus it’s a lot brighter in there since we went with white!!

After:

New & Beautiful Front Door

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Although it has literally been FOREVER since I’ve posted, we’ve actually been doing a lot of projects around our house!  Most of them are still in progress, but so close to getting done!  It feels really wonderful to see your house transforming right before your eyes.

Last year we made the decision to move back to our town home in WV.  Although we are missing the yard space of a single family home, we really love this house!

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Taken the day I put an offer on the house!

So we put together a list of projects we wanted to complete to make the house work better for us, and one of those projects was adding more natural light to our foyer.  Our entry way was always really dark, so we applied to the HOA for a new door & it was approved! Yay!

We did a lot of changes to the inside and outside of the home besides adding the new front door.

On the outside of the home we dug up all of the old plants and planted new ones.  We added the garage door accents (they are actually magnets! Isn’t that awesome?!), which can be found at Amazon.  We also took off all the shutters due to birds nesting behind them every year and leaving behind a huge mess.

I don’t know about how everyone else feels, but we LOVE the new door so much!  Of course we got it from Home Depot.  We live so close to one, so it’s just so convenient for us to shop there.  You can find the door here.  Due to HOA restrictions, we had to keep the outside of the door the same color, so after holding up many paint swatches, we decided that Behr’s “Private Black” was the best match.

We also changed a lot on the inside of the entry way.  A few years ago after binge watching HGTV I decided to paint stripes in the foyer.  I drove to the store, bought all the supplies, and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning painting the stripes.  After another HGTV marathon, I decided to also replace the floor with laminate wood.  That was a hard project, but so worth it!

The mirror was a gift from my Grandmother when I bought the house in 2010.  We painted the new door “Fuzzy Duckling” by Behr, and the navy blue rug is from Kohl’s.  We wanted to make sure we had a place for guests to hang their jackets/bags (because it’s always really awkward when you visit someone & you don’t know where to put your stuff!), so we decided to hang wall hooks on the closet doors.

Personally, I am OBSESSED with them.  You can buy them here.

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On the other side of the entry we have a stool and a picture that I downloaded from Etsy.  It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but it says “Why Hello.”

Overall, we are really happy with how everything looks!  We love all of the natural light we now get in that area of the house.

A Safari Nursery

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Every since my husband and I found out we were having a little girl (we found out in March 2015), I knew that I wanted to do a safari themed nursery.  I wanted it to be cute & adorable, but not too baby-ish.  It has taken me a LONG time to put it all together-I only finished putting up the final pieces this week!  Even though I’ve known for a long time how I wanted to theme the room, I ended up being extremely picky about what I used to decorate with.  McKenzie was born a little bit early, too, so for a while after she was born her nursery decor was put on the back-burner.

When I lived in this house before we were married, this room was a very vibrant green.  We re-painted the walls a cool grey, called Rhino by Behr.  We ended up loving this color so much we painted all of the bedrooms the same color!

The first pieces I had picked out were the crib & dresser/changing table.  They are part of the Babyletto Modo collection, and I just love them!  They sell them at a lot of different stores, but ours were bought from Overstock.com because they had conveniently sent out a 15% off coupon when we were looking to buy them.  The changing table will detach from the dresser once McKenzie doesn’t need it anymore.

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The changing station next to our dresser is from IKEA.  I saw this idea on Pinterest and I immediately loved it!  It’s so nice to have an area to hold all of the essentials for the nursery without taking up space in the dresser.  I use mine to hold diapers/wipes, skincare products (lotion, Aquaphor, hand sanitizer), burp cloths, and receiving blankets. When she’s older I’ll be able to use the cart for something else.

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The closet was a project we completed before McKenzie was born-and now that we’ve had time to test it out for the past 6 months, I have to say I LOVE it!  It has space for all of her clothes and great storage space for socks, shoes, sheets, etc.  If you want to read the post on how we put together her closet, please click here.  This picture was taken before Christmas, and over the holidays she received NINETEEN more outfits! It’s validation that we definitely needed all of this efficient closet space.

A lot of the decor for the room came from Target. I love that place so much & it gets me in a lot of trouble!  McKenzie & I love to go there and walk around.  Now that it’s cold I especially like to get a delicious Starbuck’s hot chocolate while we browse.  McKenzie doesn’t get any hot chocolate but she just enjoys looking around at everything.

We bought the blue rocking chair there on clearance.  At first I didn’t think it was too comfortable, but now I actually really enjoy it.  Between nursing and reading books we spend a lot of time in that chair.  The beautiful pink blanket over the back was made by my husband’s mother!

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The two frames over the chair were also bought from Target!  A very dear friend of mine took our family photo for us, and the cute elephant print came from Shutterfly’s art collection.  The little mirror over the changing table and the two rhino heads over the crib are also from Target.  Oh, and so is the floor lamp in the corner!  That floor lamp is really nice because the two small shelves are a great place to put little items (also, it was really cheap).  They currently house a porcelain elephant from T.J. Maxx and a Noah’s Ark piggy bank.  Over the crib is a print I bought from Etsy that says “You are our greatest adventure.”

I can finally say that this room is pretty much complete (besides a better book storage option-right now they are all in the closet), but I am really happy with how it has turned out.  Hopefully when McKenzie is older she continues to love the safari theme!

And…it’s SOLD!

imageThis year my husband and I made a lot of big decisions and changes-one of which was the decision to sell our home!  We bought the house two years ago and while we never actually got around to furnishing the whole house, it allowed us to really learn a lot about renovating.  When we bought the house it needed some work: it was 9 years old, had been owned by several people, and didn’t have any updates.

Here are the pictures from the listing when we bought the house:

In the time that we lived there we made the following changes to the house:

-Painted all ceilings, walls, and trim
-Replaced the carpet & refinished the wood floors
-Replaced all light fixtures
-Painted the kitchen cabinets
-Updated all 3 bathrooms (new fixtures, new tile floors, etc)
-Updated the laundry room
-Had the basement finished
-Had a patio built in the backyard

When we put our home on the market this spring our realtor had a professional photographer come to take pictures (it was like my secret dream come true-professional pictures of all the hard work we had done!).  Here’s the website to see all of the pictures: http://www.peterevansphotography.com/greysands.htm

Here are a few of the pictures that were taken:

We really loved our time living here and were sad to move out of the fabulous neighborhood.  But it was the right decision for our family and we are excited to start the next chapter with our new baby girl!

Nursery Closet

There have been some big changes happening in our household lately! My husband and I are expecting our first baby in less than 2 weeks, so we have been busily trying to prepare for her arrival! One of the biggest changes we made was deciding to move! We made this decision over the winter and very recently we moved closer to my husband’s family (another bonus about moving: the area we’re living in now is much more affordable! Yay for being able to save more money!).

Anyways, we wanted to move and get settled in before our baby’s arrival, and one of the top projects on my list was the nursery closet.

There was nothing essentially wrong with the original closet: it was your very standard closet with a bar for hanging clothes and a top shelf. However, we were extremely blessed and received a lot of gifts for this little girl, and there just would have been no neat and organized way to store everything. So I begged and pleaded with my husband until he agreed to build her an organization system! And let me say, it turned out to be AMAZING.

In our old house all of our tools were in the basement, which was nice because we could work during all sorts of weather, but ultimately was very loud in the house and created a lot of dust.  Also, our basement did not have the best lighting.  So it’s really nice that now we can store all of our tools in the garage and have actual daylight to work with!

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We bought all of our supplies from Home Depot, including the fabric bins (you just can’t beat Martha Stewart products).  We bought the MDF wood because it was already prestained and painted, which meant a lot less work for us!  We took measurements of the closet and decided we wanted to be able to fit 6 shelves in the center.  My husband first cut the 6 shelves using the expresso MDF and attached them with screws to the long white center MDF pieces.  After they were all attached we carried it upstairs & put it in the closet.


As you can see, some of the shelves also have an expresso backing.  We added those for extra stability and to make sure everything was completely straight.

After that was done, we worked on installing the shelves.  We added a long shelf that goes across the entire top of the closet (I wanted this area to store diapers and wipes), and we also added 2 smaller shelves above the bottom clothing bars.  These smaller shelves can really be used for anything, but at the moment they are being used for blanket storage!


After the shelves were put into place the final item on the list was the hanging rods!  What’s really nice about the hanging rods and the shelves (especially the bottom shelves), is that they can be easily removed.  When this baby gets older, or if we decide to sell this house in the future and move, and someone older moves into this space, the shelves and rods can be removed to fit longer clothing, such as dresses.

What I really love about this closet are all the cute clothes it displays!  We bought our hangers and clothing dividers from BabiesRUS, and I think the clothing dividers are such a great idea.  I can easily organize and sort all of her clothes to know what size they are.


The rest of our nursery isn’t quite finished, but it’s close! I’m just waiting on some final artwork pieces to hang up!

Master Bathroom Makeover

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Well, first of all, it has been a LONG time since I made a post about projects we’ve been doing around the house!  Time really got away from us for a few months-I guess that’s what happens when you’re both working full time, going to school, and one of you is pregnant!  Morning sickness is REAL and really hindered any motivation I had to do things around the house for a while.

But anyways, about a month and a half ago we finally got our acts together and started renovating our master bathroom.  It took us a while to finish this project-but I think the outcome is BEAUTIFUL and it’s a space I love being in now.

These are just a couple of pictures I quickly took of the space a few years ago when we purchased the home:

What these pictures don’t show you is that the cute separate vanity area was CARPETED-which kind of defeats the purpose.  I refused to use that area once we replaced the carpet because I didn’t want to ruin our new carpet with my makeup (I use mineral makeup & it always gets everywhere).  The vanity area was also separate from the bathroom with a door between them.  When we purchased the home we painted the vanity area the same color as our bedroom since it was really part of that space.  We didn’t paint the actual bathroom until recently because we weren’t sure what we were going to do with the room.

As you can see, the vanity area was right by our bedroom in that little nook.  It’s a nice space with a large mirror, but the light fixture was outdated & ugh-carpet.

We decided to tear down the wall between the vanity space & the bathroom to create one large master bathroom.  We also wanted to move the door to the bathroom to the other side of the vanity so that the entire space was closed off from our bedroom.

Here are some before/during pictures of the bathroom progress:

When the wall was torn down we immediately LOVED the effect.  The room felt so open and wonderful.  The next steps involved moving around some electrical wires (to relocate the light switch), then the rest of the DEMO.  We removed the toilet, tore up all the tiles from the floor and baseboard, took down all the towel hooks and other accessories, and removed all the light fixtures and faucets.  Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of pictures of these steps because my husband and his dad did pretty much all this work!  Being pregnant meant that I was banned from the bathroom for much of this process.

Our FINISHED product!

We used the same tile and paint color that we used in our guest bathroom.  The paint color was Tide Pools by Behr.  We really loved the calming effect this color gave to our guest bathroom so we decided to use it again.  I’m pretty sure my husband wants to put it in every bathroom we’ll ever have!  For the floor we used ceramic tiles that looked like hardwood.  I love how it gives an element of nature to the space.

We used the Kohler Alteo collection for our sink faucets and accessories (towel bars and toilet paper holder).  My favorite part of the toilet paper holder is how it opens up!  Makes it SO EASY to change the roll when it’s empty.

Of course, my super talented husband made some mirror frames for this space as well.  The frames really make the mirrors pop and stand out against the walls.  We also replaced the light fixtures with these from Home Depot.

Seriously, we were at Home Depot SO MANY TIMES during this renovation.  I considered asking for our own special parking space!

If you would like to read the process for replacing the tile floors, creating the mirror frames, please read my post about our Guest Bathroom!  It contains all of the directions for what we did.

Fall Front Porch & a Wishlist

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Where did the month of October go? The days flew by and before I knew it the month was over! My husband and I have been really busy with careers and degrees and just life in general, but I have been really determined lately to get back on track with some home projects!  I REALLY wanted to have a cute porch for Halloween since our neighborhood is basically bombarded with children each year.

We went to a pumpkin patch a couple of weeks ago and bought some pumpkins for our porch. We bought 3 bigger ones for our stairs, but I also wanted to get 2 little ones to go in our planters with some flowers.  Earlier this fall I had planted golden yellow mums in our planters, but the blossoms died & I didn’t realize they wouldn’t re-bloom until next year! I was so disappointed. I dug those up, headed to Home Depot, and browsed their garden section. As soon as I saw these Hen & Chick plants I knew they were exactly what I wanted! And, I bought all 18 individual plants for $10!

 

I think they turned out pretty well. And, the best part is that these plants should survive the winter and I’ll be able to replace the pumpkins with other pieces of decor!

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I also wanted to make a burlap wreath for the door. I bought the wire frame, burlap, and pipe cleaners from a craft store, but the chevron burlap ribbon I bought from Walmart’s Halloween clearance!  I didn’t take any pictures of how I made the wreath or bow, but here is the link for the Youtube video I used to create the wreath, and here’s the blog link for how to make a perfect bow!

On Halloween night we set out a pallet & hay bale as well.  We bought this adorable Frankenstein from Amazon & put out our candy in a big cauldron!  He did a great job guarding the bowl.

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Now, let me by honest. I absolutely love this home, but I can not stand the colors of this porch!

Here’s my wishlist for the porch:

-Give all the siding a new coat of paint in the same color.
-Repaint all the trim from off-white to white.
-Repaint the front door white so it’s clean & door wreaths pop against it.
-Repaint the porch a deep charcoal color.
-Buy a new doormat!!!!
-Buy some furniture!
-New kick plate in nickel.
-New, more modern sconces.

It’s a big list.  We’re hoping to get all the painting done in early spring of 2015!

Our Guest Bath Reno

 

Guest Bathroom Before & After

ATTENTION ALL WHO ACTUALLY READ THIS BLOG:  Let me start of by sharing with you the biggest lesson learned from this reno: Different plumbing fixture brands each have their own type of shower valve in the wall behind the shower, and each brand will only work with their own shower valve.  So, if you currently have a Moen shower wall faucet and plan to install say, a Kohler wall faucet, you will have to replace the valve in the wall. We learned this the HARD way and it cost us a lot of time!!

Okay, that being said, this project was actually a lot of fun and I learned a lot through the process!  We had originally not planned on renovating this space until later this fall, but during the summer I took two graduate courses, and one of my professors let us choose literally anything to do for our project as long as we fulfilled the learning requirements. Hellooooo new bathroom.

The space feels so completely different and it’s just so nice to go into this bathroom and actually enjoy how it looks!

Here are some of the pictures of what it looked like when we bought the house last year:

As you can see it was full of white boring-ness (and it was also pretty gross. The white grout lines were not very white anymore).  It was definitely time for some upgrades! In a nutshell we replaced the old tile with a beautiful new ceramic tile floor, added a frame around the mirror, spray painted the light fixture, replaced all the faucets, and added that beautiful piece of moulding by the shower to hang a towel or robe.  (And of course we painted the entire space: ceiling, walls, and trim).

Keep reading if you’re interested in how we made these changes 🙂

Our Laundry Room: An Unexpected Journey

Laundry Room

My husband and I unexpectedly decided to renovate our laundry room while we were also renovating our guest bathroom that is located on the other side of the laundry room wall.  While we were renovating the bathroom we cut a big hole in the wall so that we could see the pipes behind the shower, and well, since our laundry space had a big hole in the wall and the machines were removed we thought we would just go for it!

We are so happy with how the space turned out.  I am especially happy because now doing laundry will be such a happier chore!

Here are some more of the before pictures:

Our house is ten years old, and while we cleaned it thoroughly when we bought it last summer, I did not think to move the dryer out of the room and clean under it. That was a big mistake: YUCK!

The finished product:

Our Living Room Transformation

Living Room

Our living room transformation has been in the process for a long time.  Before we even moved into our home last September we had painted all the walls and changed all the flooring (admittedly, we did not install the new carpet ourselves).  Our beautiful light gray wall color in this room is Manhattan Mist by Behrand we used this color in a lot of the rooms on our first floor.  Our carpet is a really dark grey, but for some reason it has a green hue in certain lighting.

Anyways, I am so happy with how this room turned out!  We bought a new sofa and chairs this past winter and they are SO COMFORTABLE.  We eat most of our meals on the sofa because it’s just so darn comfy.  We bought and hung new blinds, and started decorating!

The old window frame above our fireplace mantle came from Chartreuse & Company in Frederick, MD.  They are open once a month and sell the most adorable vintage & antique goods.  A lot of items in our house came from there!  Here’s their Facebook page where you can find their calendar (they also have a blog).

The yellow crock on the floor by our fireplace came from Target, on clearance! I had been eyeing that for a while and I scooped it up as soon as it went on sale!  The off-white crock is a real antique given to us by my dad.  I have a small obsession with water fowl (I have a lot of swan decoys around the house), and these charming decoys belonged to one of my uncles.

Our coffee table was upcycled from an old dining table one of our neighbors threw away.  That was a long process in itself!  The white trays on top came from CB2, found here.  Also from CB2 are the floor lamp (here) and the white table lamp (here).  The table lamp I have had for a LONG time & I still love it dearly.  The floor lamp was a gift for our wedding!

I made the floor ottomans & the chevron throw pillow covers (if interested, those posts can be found in my July archives!).

The little yellow side table came from Target and I painted it yellow.  If you like the style of the table, here it is!

The last part of the process was creating the small print gallery above the couch.  It took me a really long time to figure out what kind of artwork I wanted to hang there (just too many options!).  Finally I remembered that inside my super nerdy collector’s addition of  The Tales of Beedle the Bard (children stories from Harry Potter), there were a set of prints.  Well, I took those prints to the closest Michaels, found some clearance frames that I could use, and got those suckers hung up!  To be honest, I might end up taking down my gallery in the future and hanging it somewhere else in the house (but then I would be back to square one in terms of couch artwork).

Thanks for reading 🙂