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 & Very Much Improved Table

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A few months ago my husband and I decided we wanted a new dining table.  After looking around online we fell in love with a dining table from Restoration Hardware (I mean, who doesn’t love RH?).  However we did NOT love the price tag.  So we decided to make our own, and we are super happy with the results!

Our old dining table was a Craigslist purchase, and we fixed it up and painted it a blue-ish grey.  We loved the color and the shape of the table, but it slightly sagged in the middle and we were constantly worried that the paint was going to get messed up and our table would look horrible (it’s not fun to have to sand down multiple layers of paint & primer and re-do everything).

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Our old dining table

Our new dining table measures 106″ long,  43″ wide, and 30″ tall.  We wanted to have something that could accommodate a large number of people, and we think we achieved that!  For the color we wanted something that looked like a “farm table,” which proved to be pretty hard since Douglass Fir is a pretty red wood.  To achieve this color we stained this table with 2 layers of pre-stain, 2 layers of Weathered Grey (with poly), and 2 layers of Kona (with poly).

I’m going to post some more of our finished pictures below, but please keep reading on the next page to find out how we made this gorgeous table!

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!

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!

Fast & Easy Table Runner

I have been really wanting a table runner in the dining room for a while now, but I had no idea what I wanted it to look like.  Well, I googled “table runner ideas” and discovered a lot of really cool ones!

I was torn between a table runner that was painted to look like a really long ruler across the table (the teacher in me just LOVED that), and a table runner made out of wood shims.  After asking several people for their opinion, I decided to go with the wooden shims table runner.

The best part about this project was that it cost me less than $10 to complete! Also, I think it’s completely adorable (that may be because I made it…).

I went to Home Depot & bought this pack of shims for $3.98.  I bought 2 packs because I wasn’t sure how many I was going to need.  I also talked to an associate there and they said that the cedar would stain really well.  Turns out I only needed 1 pack of the shims, but my husband has claimed the other pack for himself!

I laid the shims out on the table and took measurements on how long they were and how wide.

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Once I had the measurements I took them all into the basement and first sanded them down as best I could, and then I stained them (tops and all 4 edges).  I stained them with the same stain we used on our coffee table since I wanted to try for a weathered look, and I didn’t want them to be too dark and match too much with our wood floors.  I LOVE this stain because it already has poly in it, so I didn’t have to worry about trying to poly all of them afterwards.

 

 

Once they were all stained I went upstairs and looked around my fabric pile.  I cut a piece of fabric that was about 1.5 inches shorter in length than the shims, and also about 1 inch shorter in width.  I used Power Grab glue to glue each piece onto the fabric.  After letting it dry for a few hours we carried it upstairs & put it on our dining table!  I think it looks fabulous.

I am still at a loss as to what do to for a fall tablescape.  Let me know if you have any ideas! Thanks 🙂

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 🙂

 

Renovation Project Checklist

This summer I took two graduate classes toward my Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction, and I was so pleasantly surprised & pleased when one of my professors allowed us to choose ANYTHING for our major project.  I’m sure it doesn’t come as a shock when I tell you that I chose to renovate our guest bathroom as my project.  Our bathroom is SO CLOSE to being done, but I couldn’t wait to share this template that I created as part of my project!

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Whenever I’m doing a project I always have a lot of pieces of paper lying around with things to do, buy, measurements, notes, etc.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember where I put a specific piece of paper!  As part of my project and presentation I had to create a handout to share with my classmates, and I had a major light bulb moment: I could create a template to share for future home renovations.  I LOVE having those moments where a good idea just comes to you. Totally makes my day!

I can’t wait to use this template.  I’m planning on printing a sheet for each room in our house that I want to change and update.  Maybe I’ll even put together a binder with the templates along with project ideas!  The options are endless.

Anyways, if you feel as though you could use this for your own renovations or projects, please feel free to use it! And I welcome any feedback if you think of something that could be added 🙂

Home Renovation Template

My Record Cabinet & the Magic of Spray Paint

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The title of this post reminds me of a children’s storybook title, but really I just wanted to share how much I love spray paint!  It truly allows you to transform anything you already have in your home that just needs a bit of updating.

I received my record player as a Christmas gift from *Santa* a few years ago, but i never had anywhere to put it, so it stayed on my dresser for a while and I kept my records just in a drawer somewhere.  I just didn’t know what kind of record cabinet I wanted to have! The other week I was browsing some Facebook yard sale pages and I came across this mini record cabinet!  Although I was fairly worried it was going to be too short to realistically use, it was the perfect height once I put my record player on top.  I searched around the internet for cabinets similar to this one and I found this one & also this one.

Updating this piece was so easy! I took off the doors and set them aside.  I used a piece of sandpaper we had lying around our basement and I roughed up the top and sides of the cabinet.  I bought a can of Rustoleum white semi-gloss spray paint I bought at Home Depot (okay, it really took me 2 cans of spray paint) and began to spray away! The important thing to keep in mind with spray paint is not to spray too much paint in one area at a time, otherwise it could begin to build up and form drips.  Just do light coats and continue to spray until the entire piece is evenly covered.  After that was done I cleaned off the doors and replaced the knobs (you can buy the knobs here).

I’ve actually used spray paint in many areas of our home! Here are a few pictures of other pieces I’ve updated/transformed with a can of spray paint:

Salt & Pepper Shakers

Bathroom Light Fixture

Terra Cotta Pot

Mason Jar Storage