Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Master Bedroom Closet Reno

I haven't featured our master bedroom yet, because it's "done", but it isn't done. I'll take you back to the beginning, and slowly, we'll get up to speed together!

In desperate need of more closet space...

Yes! That really was the closet we BOTH shared!

Ryan, with the help of a friend, got to work...{Warning: These photos may induce a panic attack!}

It was at about this point that Ryan told me he really didn't know what he was doing and may have exaggerated his abilities and experience. Terrific. {Love you, babe!} Then, I woke up one morning and noticed the roof had leaked right above the work he had just accomplished. Perfect.

Needless to say, we took a little break to get a new roof. Some things are necessities, but thank goodness for insurance! They allowed some money to patch and re-texture the ceiling {Note: I do not love textured ceilings. Who does? However, we didn't have the know-how or desire to scrap them, so we just didn't! You can call me lazy!}, so I started getting quotes to fix it. In doing so, I sort of asked for quotes to finish up the drywall sanding and make it as sooth as humanly possible {it was anything but at this point}! In my mad hunt for a talented individual willing to work for soup and crackers, I found someone who was willing to patch and texture the ceiling, finish off the drywall mess, add trim to the inside of the closet AND paint the entire room for....wait for it.....$450!!!!!! I know. I couldn't believe it either!

As soon as that was done, we got to work with the closet system.

All that was left was the doors, outside trim and new carpet. We needed carpet because the hardwoods were already in rough shape, and then the closet reno really did a job on them too. It was a necessity! Trust me. Anyway, this is what we were left with...

Ryan had the biggest issue with the empty space above. While decor is always on my mind, he insisted we needed a TV up there. I finally caved and used it as a great excuse...Happy Birthday, honey!

Besides the TV, the space is empty, and it's been bothering me! Really. Bothering. Me. I've been searching all of my usual discount hot spots, and I think I finally found the perfect accessories today!

If you look really closely, you can still see the Ross price tag on the plate. I always leave them on, during my "Stage and Stare" time. This way, if I decide I don't like it, I can always take it back! What are your thoughts? It might not be to perfect scale, but I think I'll probably add a wicker lidded basket later on. The total cost invested for accessories? $21.97 plus tax!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Be Inspired by a Memory

Nope. I'm not having a dinner party tonight. I don't even know what I'm going to make my little family for dinner yet. This is just the kind of thing I do in my spare time.

One of my favorite pastimes is gathering items I already have around the house and seeing what I can do with them. An instant update can be so rewarding. Not only is it a breathe of fresh air, but it doesn't cost a cent! It just takes a little creativity and patience. You must be willing to accept some trial and error, and sometimes it takes several arrangements before you get it just right, because it wasn't planned. You didn't go to Home Goods and gather everything off their most recent display, and you might not think you have enough items to set a proper table. But Rome wasn't built in a day, and sometimes you CAN turn dirt into diamonds. Gosh! Excuse the cheese. I can be the biggest dork there is!

You also have to be willing to try using old items in a new way or simply moving an item to a new location. If it doesn't work? So what! Try something else, or move it to another spot. For example, I've never thought to turn my square bowls sideways, but I think it adds to the whimsy of this scape. It also helps balance the diamond shape I created with the floral printed napkin. Together, the two make sense. I've also never taken the candle holders off the mantel until now. I went one step further and filled each tea light cup with some extra iridescent pebble vase filler I had. Then, I put the tea light on top of the rocks. For you, this might mean taking that unique toothbrush holder you got for your wedding out of the bathroom and turning it into a bud vase!

Although I cannot guarantee instant satisfaction, I can promise that impromptu designing like this does get easier with practice. Start taking walks around your home and really look at your possessions. Thinking outside of the box will soon become second nature, and you might be constantly annoying your husband when he can't seem to find his favorite belt...because you used it as a rustic curtain tieback in your guest room.

My last piece of advice is to go with your gut and work with inspiration. My grandma passed away a month ago, and I was having a sad day. This got me thinking about her and the yellow linens you see on the table. She sewed the runner and napkins when my mom was small, and I suddenly had the urge to look at them. I opened my linen drawer and just went with it. Before I knew it, my sorrow had turned into a smile, and I had proudly honored her work. Decorating can be so good for the soul!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Steal From Little Boys, for the Sake of Design!

So...I'm a horrible mama, and I may have just lost my "Mommy of the Year Award" with this one!

I was recently looking at our dining room shelves and decided that, although I love that some of the vintage vases and bowls we collected for our wedding are on display, the shelves may be lacking texture.

While changing Preston today, I spotted this in his room.

Then, I stole it! Now, I have nothing against softball. In fact, I played it all through elementary and all four years of high school. I even played on a co-ed league during college {I must add that I am by no means a pro, but I give it my best shot}! My father still plays on a league, and we go to watch every chance we can. I want Preston to love the sport and grow up with it like I did. My dad lived{s} for the game. Growing up, we were drug to every tournament, double-header, and all-nighter he played. I loved to stand behind the fence and race after the ball when my daddy hit a home run. Later, he used to make me go to sleep with my mitt under my mattress and toss the ball above my head {while laying in bed} one hundred times a night {so I wouldn't be afraid of it coming at my face}. Anyway, I'm off subject, but I felt the desire to explain that before I show you what I did to this poor, poor ball.

The pictures will pretty much sum it up...

When finished, I noticed a huge problem. It looked more like a GIANT lemon than a topiary ball.{CRAFT TIP: If you want to make jute lemons, use baseballs and not softballs.} Then, a lemon shaped light bulb came on in my head. I grabbed this...

Yes, I know this is sideways. I cannot seem to fix the issue.

Adding just a bit of detail, and to distract from the lemon nubs on each end, I wrapped the green twine around the center a few times.

Now, it reminds me more of a coconut! I'm not saying this is a good thing, but I guess it does add some texture to our shelves and helps balance out the brown metal mirror. I have no idea how long this pathetic little craftcapade will stay there though. Gosh, those shelves do not seem to bow so much in person!

On a happier note, we are making headway on the dresser in my studio {I swear everything always takes three days longer than I plan on}. Remember this?

Well, it was primed.

It's also been painted, and the new knobs are on! I'm really liking it, but I have to put everything back together, so that post will come soon. I promise, because remember my dining room table?

It's still about half that full, and we need to eat dinner there again at some point!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Finishing Touches-My Studio

I had BIG plans for this weekend. I was finally going to paint the unfinished IKEA dresser that I've had for eight years!

It's recently found a new home in my studio, and it hides a lot of supplies.

It's also one of the "last" projects I have left to do in there..Yes, even I laughed at my use of the word "last". Who am I kidding?! Anyway, so I emptied the drawers, and my dining room table looked like this.

Ryan removed the hardware,

and then he told me we didn't have anything to fill the holes with {I'm replacing the handles with knobs}. Well, I wasn't about to head out of the house with the project itch. I wanted to do it NOW! Insert stomping foot and pouting lip {not really, but that's what I felt like doing on the inside}. Then....TADA! A light came on. I had Plaster of Paris left over from a craft project gone very. very. wrong. To my surprise, it worked just fine.

While it dried, I still had the urge to do something! I took a look around and realized my bulletin board needed some organization.

It's my favorite piece in the room, but I knew it wasn't living up to it's potential. I looked through my paper stash and found three prints that could coordinate with the space {it took four pieces of 12x12 paper in three prints total}. I measured the board and realized I could fit eight pieces on there {eight categories of items I needed-Bills, Receipts, Keepsakes, Upcoming Events, Fun Inspiration Pieces, Photos, Shipping Forms, and Odds and Ends}. Then, I folded each piece in half and cut, trimmed the bottoms to size and ran them through my laminator. I also knew that I would need some pockets, because I only had 5 bronze clips. Being lazy, I decided to make just two pockets {for Keepsakes, and Shipping Forms}. For those, I cut a piece to the size of the rest, then I made a shorter piece that was just as wide. I lined it up and stuck the three edges together with scrapbook adhesive squares. Next, I ran it through the laminator and scored the seam with a pair of scissors. I had a perfect pocket, so I just repeated the process once more. I think the finished results are pretty impressive. The best part? This update didn't cost a cent!

I wasn't done for the night! I have been hanging on to this fun roll of wrapping paper I got on a recent trip to The Paris Market in Savannah. Looking at my desk, I knew just what to do...

I realize that the wrapping paper bubbled. A lot. You can't see it from most spots in the room {I checked}, so I'm alright with it. For now. P.S. I used  Elmer's Spray Adhesive and Mod Podge to attach the paper to the wood.

Back to the original project at hand. I woke up Saturday ready to prime the desk, but it was raining. I sanded the holes and sulked. It rained all day Sunday too. Remember what my dining room table looked like?

You might not know this about me yet, but I am slightly O.C.D. Just slightly, and this was driving me CRAZY! Guess what? I woke up to rain today too {Monday}. Thank goodness it lifted, and I was finally able to prime it later this evening! Fingers crossed that I like the transformation. Come on over tomorrow. Maybe it will be done by then.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Closer Look-The Living Room

I've welcomed you into our home with a quick look into the living room, but I'd like to bring you up to speed with how it actually looks today! Come on it, have a  seat, and I'll pour you a cup of coffee...errr...Diet Coke! That's the only "coffee" you'll find in this house!

This is the view from the dining room. You can see a small glimpse of the blue/turquoise(ish) paint color of that room. Since the rooms are so open to each other, I'm slowly adding more pops of blues into the living room. Hey, I said slowly, and that lonely pillow counts!
View from the little chair next to the fireplace

The space is a little bare, and I'd normally dress the top of our Crate & Barrel coffee table, but remember there is a toddler running around these days! I have big plans for the wall above the couch, but as my mother always says, "In due time, child." For right now, my T.J.Maxx steal of a bronze clock will fit the bill! Only $29, people!

Here's a view of the other side of the room from the dining room...
and a close up...
I have a lot of issues with this side of the room. First off, we need more seating, like yesterday, so that tiny little itsy bitsy Pier 1 chair from college is going to be replaced with a loveseat {maybe with a sleeper, since we live in a two bedroom}. That photo holder {also Pier 1}, is way too empty. I'm tossing around ideas of filling it with smaller art prints {I've sort of started this for the time being and have 3 pathetic attempts up there}, or replacing it all together with a fun Subway inspired wooden wall piece. Decisions. Decisions. The ONLY reason I'll probably keep it up there is the two screw holes it's made! Now, the mantel. Ahhh...the reason I started my love affair with this house. It's beautiful, and big, but mostly just big, and I need to dress it up! I have visions for that too, so stay tuned!

Let's see...other items in the room. The brown couch was an amazing bargain, at just $297 from a furniture store that was going out of business. Two years later, it's still miraculously open and "going out of business" but whatev! The white shag rug was bought at Target. We needed a large size, and it was the cheapest one we could find {only $79}! This doesn't mean I LOVE it, but sometimes the price outweighs the look {only if the look at least coordinates with the room and fulfills a function well}! The way-too-short brown and cream damask curtains were from Pier 1. I fell in love with them on the spot and bought them while we were still house hunting. No real room in mind, but they served as great inspiration for the direction of the living room.

The light fixture was from Lowe's. It was under $60! Are you noticing a bronze theme yet? Our bungalow sports a ton of it's original bronze hardware {all of the exterior doors, a few interior doors and the built-ins}, so we wanted to keep with the integrity of the home and play off of that. To compliment the age of the house, we have updated all of the switch plates, the light fixtures and kitchen faucet to match. Papers say it was built in 1941, {but I see signs of older age}, so it's hard to find replacement heat vents. They're black and starting to REALLY show their age. Slowly, we're giving each one of those a facelife with antique bronze spray paint!

Let's take a closer look at some of my favorite items in this room...I KNOW you want to see a close up of that pillow!

Angie from That Funky Boutique is a dream to work with! Of course, even the pillow has a story, but I'll save that for anyone who wants to know more...Just ask!

My Crate & Barrel lamps may be my favorite accessory. They were originally bought for our bedroom, but I put them here {until that got redone}, and they never left!
This little metal sign is our newest addition. It was purchased for under $5 at Hobby Lobby! Originally, we had a cheap vinyl saying up there {by cheap I mean so inexpensive and such a knock-off that I'm not even sure if it was actually even made of vinyl}, but half of the words were gold and hard to read, and a lot of people kept asking what it said. I was tired of the conversations, so it went bye-bye! This sign says pretty much the same thing that the vinyl did, so I'm happy...for now!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Love at First Sight

In January of 2009, my then-fiance and I moved from Michigan to Virginia. We stayed with my parents, while we found jobs and started our first house hunt. Being the penny pincher that I am, I was adamant about a small budget, so you can imagine the doozies we saw! Ryan wanted "BIG and cheap", and I wanted "cheap with charm".

After many dinner conversations, I convinced him that a "cheap" big house meant a lot more elbow grease, paint, repairs and utility bills. That's when our Highland Ave beauty entered our lives! Our realtor knew a bungalow was my dream. I wanted built-ins and a fireplace and wood floors. She found us all of that AND a claw foot! We were closed and moved in by April {sorry about the tiny picture}.

 Within the first week, we painted the living room!



Can you tell I was a long-time renter? I know my color choice is bold to some, but the "Martha Stewart" green really helps pop the woodwork! {P.S. Even these pictures are outdated now...welcome to mommyhood}!

Badabing Badaboom! Then came marriage...

and a baby in a baby carriage!

Preston put some of our house plans on hold, but now that he's a year old, we're back at it! Won't you stay with us, as we lovingly redo {and change and rearrange and rearrange some more} our cozy little bungalow!