Before and Afters

Final living room reveal!

I gave you an update a few weeks ago on the state of our living room. We have been making subtle changes bit by bit, and I think we are finally calling it done! When we looked at the house, it looked like this.  photo 3-LivingRoom3_zpskldy1ivx.jpg Then for about 2 years, we lived with the living room looking like this.  photo livingroomcoffeetable2_zpsebpsvnoz.jpg About 6 months ago, when we painted all the kitchen cabinets white, we began to make changes to the living room. Slowly, but surely, we have gotten to a point that feels like we are finished.

I finally had a chance to take some photos...ta da!  photo 5680D5D0-6848-4988-83B3-626AC8CE43C8_zpsgbubcqz5.jpg  photo C3F4B103-6B24-4E4B-8202-86A214083481_zpsqn5kcrdu.jpg Here is what we have changed: - New couch (purchase link here) - Re-painted all the walls. It's hard to tell, but they went from grey-beige to more of a pure light gray. - Swapped the gray curtains for white ones from a different room. - Swapped the chevron chairs for a single club chair from a different room (and recovered the chairs. More on that later) - Moved a bench from one of the guest rooms into the space next to the door. - Got rid of the art above the couch in favor for those beautiful diamond window panels (found at a local flea market). - Swapped the jute rug for a Dash & Albert Rug that was in our guest room. - New coffee table (purchase link here)

The only new things we purchased were the couch, coffee table, and window panes above the couch. Everything else was simply borrowed from other rooms in the house. I absolutely love how much lighter, brighter, and more balanced everything is! It feels perfect for springtime.  photo EB452DE7-6AF2-4796-AB77-C843DB3259C8_zpsi41yqu2w.jpg  photo 439617FE-0D78-4860-B715-C05CFD08846D_zpsdhy3bema.jpg We love this new, pretty couch. It was such an upgrade for us. The velvet material is so soft and comfortable, and it's very cat friendly (they aren't as tempted to scratch velvet as they are linen).  photo C389BD0C-9D54-4F9B-8D7D-5B349948FCCB_zpscuzorxlx.jpg

Also, having this club chair instead of the smaller chairs is more functional for our everyday life.  photo 716C44A6-E4F1-49DA-B8F3-365C29DEAF5B_zpshrsudk1k.jpg We also recently switched out our kitchen chairs for some metal tub chairs.  photo D43A6ACC-9CAB-4E65-A0F2-35CBBA913BB0_zpso2bmqfwb.jpg

I feel like we have finally settled into a room that I am truly proud of! At least...for now :-)

 photo IMG_0142_zps1d9byf53.jpg

Final sources: Paint color: Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore (at 50% strength) Couch: Chloe Velvet Tufted Sofa from Macy's in Granite Pillows: Home Goods & West Elm Coffee Table: Wayfair Sideboard/TV Stand: Free on Craigslist/DIY painted and stained (info on the paint job here.) Bench: Free/DIY Recovered (here) Rug: Dash & Albert Club chair: Bargain hunt Throw blanket: Home Goods Lamps: Walmart Diamond windowpanes: Nashville flea market Boxwood wreath: Target

On improving your style and the living room.

At a recent staff meeting at the company where I work, we watched an Andy Stanley video about creating momentum in your church or business. He says three things influence momentum: new, improved, and improving. You always need to be creating something new and improving something existing. I say that the same is true about our personal lives and our homes. Especially for those of us who care deeply about the way that our homes look and feel. You don't have to change EVERYTHING at once. You don't have to have an HGTV-style before and after. You just have to introduce one new thing. Or improve one old thing.

The first room we decorated upon moving into our red brick ranch was the living room, which is incidentally also the first thing you see upon entering our house. We painted it, used existing furniture, and recycled a few thrifted finds. We did it on the CHEAP, but it was the first room that I had put together which seemed complete. But, fast forward a couple of years, and a lot of the choices I made already seemed like they needed a refresh. My style has become much more defined, our budget has expanded ever so slightly, and my taste has improved in three years.

Here was what the room looked like with the previous owners.

 photo 3-LivingRoom3_zpskldy1ivx.jpg

So this was round 1 (I was so proud of this at the time, and now I squirm a little looking at this terrible photo and the too-warm walls and the low hanging gallery wall and all of the wood on wood on wood! My photo skills have also improved)  photo livingroom3_zpsqfr6woai.jpg The rug helped just a little bit.  photo livingroomupdated1_zps32njgtsh.jpg And after a new couch, new paint, new coffee table, new kitchen cabinet color, shiplap peninsula, new barstools, and a rug, this is what it looks like right now.  photo LivingRoom2_zpsaorr52t7.jpg  photo C0CB25C8-F255-4672-8537-03914851B231_zpsg84ogedz.jpg  photo B7FE3394-50A2-4154-A8C9-B942B48CC6DA_zpssfxfqoxp.jpg And there are still several things coming soon! I am going to be changing out the art above the couch for a mirror I am working on right now and giving those chevron chairs a revamp. I am happy with the look right now, but there are still a lot of changes I would love to make in an ideal world.

Here is what I have learned. This room has been in a constant state of improvement since we moved in. I have only done what I could do in that moment. A new paint color and then another one. A new pillow here. A painted coffee table there. Every change has brought me joy and I have loved every stage along the way. If all you can do today is rearrange the books on the shelves or get a new throw blanket, do that ONE thing. One change. One improvement.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and your house doesn't have to be perfected either.

2015 Home in Review

Every year, it feels so improbable that yet another year has come and gone. The hours feel so long and the years so short. I am enjoying the end of this year because I think 2015 might be one of my favorite years yet on a personal level, and it has been the most trans-formative year for our little red brick ranch house.

We have a new master bedroom and closet, an updated and renovated basement, a fresh white kitchen and repainted living space, and a new sitting area/patio outside in the carport. Let me jog your memory about some transformations and renovations from the year.

Garage to Master Bedroom Transformation. Our old garage went from this...  photo garage2_zps1be2d16b.jpg To this...  photo bedroom9_zpsdf8atkoi.jpg  photo bedroom1_zpskhnclfma.jpg

For more information on this big renovation: Mid-Century Dresser  Vintage File Cabinet with Annie Sloan Paint Vintage Night Stands DIY Upholstered Headboard Painting the room Construction update

We transformed our kitchen by painting all the cabinets and adding hardware Before (Was it ever that ORANGE?)  photo KitchenBefore3_zpsytst4k10.jpg After (We are so enjoying our new kitchen)  photo IMG_9449_zpsq8bygt3k.jpg

   Oh and then Magnolia Market (Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper) shared a photo of my kitchen on social media and I felt famous for a day! 

 I did my first "client" project by helping a friend with design for their home renovation. BEFORE  photo 602A25F4-6580-4040-BA3B-0EB52D123178_zpskkqe5olo.jpg

   AFTER  photo Hagood1_zpse1ztcqq3.jpg

   We created a mudroom in our basement and hung shiplap...

    photo mudroom3edited_zpsa5y5wf83.jpg

Our basement went from this 

   To this 

      We created a cozy seating area in our existing carport...  photo IMG_9914_zpskbnwc3zy.jpg

We finished off the year with a Christmas home tour to recap it all...  photo IMG_9961_zpsei0osmr1.jpg

It's been a lovely year of updating for the Quarles home! Tomorrow I will recap our life adventures from the year!


Fall Home Preview & Mudroom Reveal!

 photo mudroom2_zpsdgkco8m0.jpgI truly love Fall. When I think about pumpkins and crisp nights and crunchy leaves and soup and cider, I am like a giddy schoolgirl. Jeremy has rolled his eyes every time I have come home with a new pumpkin in the past few weeks...which has been often. I just keep buying all the pumpkins!

That said, nothing says fall like cozy clothes. Boots and scarves and jackets and cardigans. While we are still very much in "transitional" fall weather here in middle Tennessee, I look forward with anticipation to the weeks ahead when it's cool enough to layer up before heading out. Fall comes later here than in the North, but we get to experience a extended, gradual changing of leaves and crisp, lovely temps from about mid-October through the end of November.

With all those layers often comes a mess in our house, however. We come inside and shed the jackets and scarves and boots and scatter them around the living room and the basement. That's why I am so excited about the newest completed project in our house: a mudroom. As soon as you enter the basement, there is now a spot to hang those sweaters and kick off those dirty shoes.

I don't have very good pictures of the "before" from the angle of the back door, but this is a really awful photo of what the basement looked like for the first two years of us owning the house. When you walk into the basement from the carport (the door we use 99% of the time), there used to be an open L-shaped room in front of you.

 photo IMG_9014_zpsv2suduwj.jpg Then we decided to construct a half wall in order to create more separation between the entrance and ceiling overhang (thanks, air ducts).  photo 10857651-E8B3-44E6-BC0B-05E2227C867E_zpsewlxv10q.jpg  photo F103C994-CC14-43A9-9DEC-C4EF0B95796A_zpsrhggm7qr.jpg Then we installed a light fixture, hung shiplap and let it sit for a few months.  photo Basementupdates1_zpszdb4iojm.jpg

Finally, Jeremy built a bench last week, and we hung hooks below the light, and we have a designated mudroom space! Usually, I invite you in from the front porch. But, come on inside our home from the carport door. Kick off your shoes and make yourself comfortable!  photo mudroom5_zpschjd7mqe.jpg I decked out the mudroom for fall with white pumpkins, my favorite booties, a cozy plaid throw and a pillow, and some fall accessory essentials. Also, dried hydrangeas from the yard are one of my favorite ways to deck the house at the end of summer and early Fall.  photo mudroom3edited_zpsa5y5wf83.jpg

The hooks were a flea market find, and the light fixture was on clearance at Home Depot.  photo mudroom8_zpsh96sirku.jpg

Jeremy built this bench one afternoon while I was at work. We stained it with "Dark Walnut" from Miniwax. I originally wanted a built in bench, but now that we have this one, I can't imagine liking a built in bench more!  photo mudroom10_zpsgq8glycx.jpg Here is what it looks like from the basement staircase that leads up to the kitchen.  photo mudroom1_zpsezssyuvy.jpg And an evening shot with the light on...  photo mudroom11_zpszlflf7rh.jpg

Mittens always wants in on the photo shoot.  photo mudroom6_zpslt8nmrwx.jpg

Thanks for coming over! Soon, I'll do a full fall house tour!

Lighter, Brighter Kitchen Part 2: Cabinet Makeover Complete and a step-by-step breakdown!

If you follow me on Instagram and if you read my last post, you know we have been working hard to update our kitchen with some paint on our orangey-brown cabinets and a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling. Well...we are FINALLY done! Someday I hope to replace our countertops and install subway tile backsplash, but for now, I am calling Phase 1 complete. There are so many cabinet painting tutorials on the web (my favorite is Young House Love here) that I won't spend too long detailing every little thing. I will say that it took me much longer than I expected...and it was more difficult than I hoped. But, in the end, I'm SO happy with the results. We recently had some friends have their cabinets professionally painted, and I think mine look almost just as good!

Tools I used: Orbital Sander (we have this one) Sanding block (medium grit) Foam rollers 2" Angled Brush HomeRight Finish Max Paint Sprayer (see here) Liquid Deglosser Zinnser 1-2-3 Primer Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Cloud White Dropcloths Construction Paper

Step 1: Remove All Cabinet drawers and doors from boxes  photo 38E3D674-1484-422C-B90D-F88CB7DF3C06_zpsyxtd1gwp.jpg We used dropcloths to turn the office right off the kitchen into a painting studio and I used plastic cups to set all the doors up off the ground. you want them to sit on top of something so they don't stick to the ground.

Step 2: Sand away!

Some people don't sand...they just prime and paint. Some people just paint. Some people just sand and paint. We decided to do all three. I want this finish to last! So I sanded all the cabinet boxes and backs and fronts of the doors with a medium grit sandpaper to rough it up and remove the varnish. Then I wiped everything down with a liquid deglosser that I bought at Lowe's.

Step 3: Prime time  photo CC76801C-0A18-414C-B124-5481FF28745C_zpsdwamvq7m.jpg The final pre-painting step is to prime everything. I rolled the primer onto the boxes with a small smooth foam roller, and it took two coats. The paint sprayer uses more paint and generally requires fewer coats, so I did one coat of primer on each side of the doors. Here was my method for spraying. Always spray/paint the backs of the doors first so that if there are any drips you can fix them on the front before you paint it. The backs don't matter as much. With the sprayer, I would pick up a door and set it upright along a piece of paper or my old work chair and spray it and set it back down flat on the ground to dry before picking up another door and setting it upright. You can't use the sprayer at a 90 degree angle, and it's best to let the doors dry flat so the drips don't run vertically. I did a coat of primer on the back,  let it dry the amount of time listed on the can, and then flipped all the doors over and did the fronts.

Step 4: Paint.  photo 4FDA0D39-8DD4-4C0D-AB69-8349E5887F6B_zps7fo4nudm.jpg I am a cheap paint girl. I have had great success with Olympic One from Lowe's, and I generally color match my Benjamin Moore or Sherwin William's colors to the cheaper paint, but for cabinets, I did not want to mess around. I wanted them to have a factory finish that lasts. So I splurged on the recommended Benjamin Moore Advance Paint for $50 a gallon, and it was worth every penny. This is an alkyd paint which I understand means that it has an oil-based finish with a water-based cleanup. It is recommended by so many people for cabinets. It is self-leveling and really did give us a factory finish.

It took 3 coats of paint on the boxes and two coats with the sprayer on the doors. I actually pulled out the sprayer in the kitchen and sprayed the sides of the boxes for the final coat, but be careful when spraying vertically to watch for drips for about 10 minutes after the coat.

The thing about this paint is that it has a LONG cure time. Read the back of the can, but I waited a full day in between coats to be extra careful, so this painting process took me about a week.  photo 1BC808DB-1606-48E4-9A2F-D8695C41F325_zpst32p27tn.jpg Once again, I did the backs of the doors first and then the fronts. And here is my assessment of using a sprayer. The finish was WORTH IT. I would use a sprayer again, but I would do it better now knowing a couple things.

First, WATCH FOR DRIPS, and don't look too closely at the edges of a few of my cabinet doors. I couldn't avoid all the drips, and I should have watched more carefully.

Secondly, the sprayer is messier than you think. Often I didn't realize how much overspray I was really getting until I turned around and my Keurig Coffee Maker was covered in white spots. Yes...we have a few souvenirs of white speckles of paint around our office and kitchen now. I covered areas directly around me, but I should have been more meticulous.

Thirdly, you need a big space. The office was NOT big enough for my 24 doors, and I messed things up a couple times tripping over doors or knocking them over. We currently don't have a garage, however, and it was the best space I had.

In the end, the sprayer gave everything such a smooth finish, and it was worth the hassle!

Step 5: Hardware  photo E2FA3D61-B3CD-4668-BF44-587A221CC0A1_zpsqx3irjxl.jpg

We didn't have hardware before, so I started from scratch in drilling the holes. We ordered our hardware from (half the price of Home Depot or Lowe's), and we bought a hardware installation template to install the knobs and pulls. Adding hardware adds SUCH a higher end look.

Step 6: Shiplap

For a little more custom detail, we installed 5" shiplap around the back of the peninsula. I love the interest it adds!

Step 7: Lighting

We replaced the track lighting in the main part of the kitchen with recessed LED lights, and we replaced the recessed lights over the island with pendants from Lowe's!

Are you ready for the final reveal?? SO excited to show off this room!

A little reminder of "before"  photo KitchenBefore3_zpsytst4k10.jpg  photo KitchenBefore4_zpsvnqgilld.jpg Ta da!  photo IMG_9449_zpsq8bygt3k.jpg  photo IMG_9460_zpsgyvq61u1.jpg  photo IMG_9459_zpsvanxsuek.jpg  photo IMG_9451_zpsbm5r5dvn.jpg  photo IMG_9467_zpsu4mudwsf.jpg

 photo IMG_9444_zpsskej3ucs.jpg  photo IMG_9455_zpste46d3dy.jpg  photo IMG_9445_zpsw9k8oul6.jpg  photo IMG_9446_zps6gb2z4sy.jpg

Sources: Wall paint: Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore at 50% strength Cabinet Paint: Cloud White by Benjamin Moore Cabinet Hardware: Pendant lighting: Lowe's Recessed LED lights: Home Depot Kitchen Table Pendant Lantern: World Market Kitchen Table: World Market Kitchen Chairs: Craigslist Kitchen Cart: DIY from an antique desk Metal Wall Art: Magnolia Homes Hanging plates: Various thrift stores and Home Goods

Lighter, Brighter Kitchen pt. 1: The Prep Work

When we first moved into our house, I knew from Day 1 that I wanted to paint the cabinets. Jeremy, however, said they were fine and just wasn't convinced that painting them wouldn't ruin them. Here is what they looked like... photo kitchentour2_zps419eb4ed.jpg Overtime, however, both of our styles have evolved, and my sweet husband has realized that white cabinets would update and make the whole space look so much more like us. So, about a year ago we determined we would paint them. Then I have been putting it off because we renovated our basement and, well, painting them would be so much work and turn our whole kitchen upside down.

Why would I ever think that?  photo KichenRemodelBefore1_zpsjlrdy2r0.jpg  photo KitchenBefore6_zpsfacrix6f.jpg  photo D780C58D-E2CA-49A1-8D24-AF2FA72DFCA3_zpsdaeygrsv.jpg  photo 9D953B4E-AD5E-4B90-A4C2-96EC85F81DB5_zpscug92fsj.jpg Yes, this is what our kitchen looked like last week. All those OCD readers, shield your eyes. And all the cabinet doors are hanging out on our guest beds drying after being sprayed. But, it is going to look so fantastic when it is done that it is worth a week of absolute chaos to get there.

So, here is what we are doing in the kitchen.

1. Painting all the cabinets "Cloud White" by Benjamin Moore 2. Removing the existing track light and installing recessed lighting 3. Installing pendant lights over the sink 4. Reinforcing the ceiling which was sagging from the old installation process 5. Repainting all the walls and ceiling 6. Installing open shelving for additional pantry storage and decorative storage 7. Adding shiplap to the kitchen peninsula on the living room side 8. Adding hardware to the cabinets

Here is what we would like to do someday.

- Replace the countertops with granite - Install white subway tile backsplash - Replace the microwave with a decorative range hood

I can't wait to give you a full kitchen reveal in a few days when everything is complete! It's going to be such a big transformation for our entire main living space! Here is a little sneak peek :-)  photo E2FA3D61-B3CD-4668-BF44-587A221CC0A1_zpsqx3irjxl.jpg

DIY Upholstered Wingback Headboard

 photo headboard19_zps04ncqnxf.jpgIf you've been following along, you've probably seen the room reveal that I recently did of our garage to master bedroom. Today I'm sharing all the details of how we made our king sized tufted wingback headboard. This is your chance to learn from my mistakes...because I definitely made a few mistakes! It isn't perfect, but I'm really proud of the way that it turned out and it was definitely a learning experience.

Step 1: Make a Plan

We have a king sized bed with a platform frame, and getting very specific measurements is key. The bed frame is 78 inches wide, so the headboard needed to be one inch wider in order for the frame to slide comfortably inside. This is the drawing I created of the plan.

 photo headboard11_zpswpiqmpyn.jpg

Step 2: Gather Materials  photo B38B91DB-8A34-4A88-8E4E-EAF1A4A017A8_zpsxq5synkr.jpg

This is a picture of the day I went to home depot on my lunch break for lumber in heels and a dress and got a lot of strange stares. Why can't a girl in a dress buy lumber and know what she is doing? I digress.

So, here was my full materials list.

(1) 4x8 piece of 1/2 in plywood (I ended up getting MDF instead and regretting it) (1) 10'x2'x6' piece of lumber (1) 10'x1'x6' piece of lumber (1) 10'x1'x4' piece of lumber 4 yards of fabric 4 yards of batting 30 buttons Approximately 500 nailheads 1.5" foam Upholstery thread and upholstery needle

Step 3: Draw A Grid and Build a Frame First, I very specifically followed my pre-determined plan and mapped out the tufts on the mdf. I decided to do a grid tufted headboard as opposed to diamond tufted. I did 9 buttons on each row with just three rows.  photo headboard12_zpskm7vkhu3.jpg

After I drew the grid, I pre-drilled all the holes. Then I created a frame using 1" boards and reinforced the center. I used wood screws to drill the boards in from both sides. It is helpful at this point to pre-drill holes in the sides for the arms (see below).  photo headboard5_zpsu9mnbmtn.jpg

Step 4: Cut Foam to Fit

Foam can be a very expensive purchase, so I scoured all around for a cheaper alternative. Here is my suggestion: a memory foam mattress topper! This was around $30 at Walmart and more than enough foam to cover my king sized headboard.  photo 08FA1EB9-F295-49D7-B148-3CB4FA2620CA_zpsbbrblhhg.jpg

I had to cut it into two pieces, but I was able to cut it to fit and used a few drops of craft glue to allow it to stick while I flipped it over in order to do the batting.  photo headboard4_zpsxqcyaq4m.jpg

Step 5: Batting

I didn't get pictures of this process, but I covered the whole thing in batting and stapled tight.

Step 6: Tufting

This is definitely the most daunting part. After covering 27 buttons with fabric, this was certainly a two person process. Jeremy sat on the back side of the board while I sat on the fabric side. We loosely wrapped the fabric around but did not yet secure it. Jeremy used a large upholstery needle and threaded it through the pre-existing holes from step 3, and I caught it on the other side and threaded it through the button. Jeremy caught the string and needle on the other side after I pushed it through and stapled it. Be sure to pull tight to avoid unnecessary fabric bunching...something I did not successfully accomplish.  photo headboard10_zpsqcavwbny.jpg

The problem we encountered is that MDF would not allow the staples to insert firmly, and we had to staple it to the nearest piece of wood and then fill the holes. This made me wish we had used plywood instead of MDF!  photo headboard9_zpsdroony9c.jpg

Finally, tightly secure the fabric to the back of the headboard using as many staples as necessary.

Step 7: Install Arms

This can be a complicated process. I started by screwing together a 1" piece of wood and a 2" piece of wood to make a 3" arm. Then before the fabric is secured  photo headboard6_zpsq7zspzmr.jpg  photo headboard1_zpsnfljkrmw.jpg

Then I used 4 inch wood screws to adhere the wooden arms to the main base at a 90 degree angle through the batting and fabric already placed.  photo headboard2_zpsieftgdts.jpg

Then the fabric must be wrapped around tightly, folded on top, and secured to the back.

Step 8: Nailhead Trim

After securing all of the fabric and cutting off excess, it came time for the nailhead trim. The bane of my existence!! I purchased 200 nailheads and soon realized it was going to take hours, never look perfect, and take far more than 200 to complete the project. So, I bought a roll of pre-assembled nailhead trim as I have seen so many bloggers use, and I was very disappointed in it. It looked cheap and very DIY in my particular situation.

So I bought 300 more nailheads and spent the length of several movies and gilmore girls episodes nailing each one into place in as straight a line as possible.  photo headboard3_zps2iaw0xxd.jpg

And I'm so glad that I did.

 photo headboard15_zps2ujuihnh.jpg

Finally, after much frustration and many promises never to attempt such a large upholstery project again, I called it done. And I'm so glad I did it!

It's a perfect statement peace for our bedroom. To see more photos of the whole room, click here.

 photo headboard13_zpsuvfb74xt.jpg  photo headboard18_zpscrot84dq.jpg

 photo headboard17_zpsq7gcrzey.jpg

Budget Breakdown:

Fabric (4 yards from Brentwood Interiors) - $38.25 Batting - $13.18 Foam - $29.98 Cover Buttons (Walmart) - 10.02 Thread & Needle - $4.05 MDF Board - $24.47 1x6x10 - $11.91 1x4x10 - $7.61 2x6x10 - $7.80 Upholstery Tacks - $37

Total: $184.27

Compared to this one for $511 and this one for $700, I feel pretty good about that price! It definitely isn't dirt cheap. There are a lot of materials that go into it. Am I happy with the way it turned out? yes. Is it perfect? no. Would I do it again? Maybe.

Now is your chance to learn from my mistakes. Here are the things I would do differently next time around.

1. BUY Plywood and not MDF!!! I made a gametime decision at the hardware store to buy mdf, and I regretted it. Mostly during the tufting process as the composition of mdf is not conducive to upholstery.

2. Put glue in the buttons before installing the backs. I have had a couple of buttons come apart after the fact, and I wished I had put a spot of glue in each as I prepared them.

3. Pull material tighter while tufting. This was my main regret. I smoothed the fabric as I went along, but I didn't pull the fabric tight enough to keep the fabric from bunching a bit where I wished it hadn't.

In the end, I'm proud of this project and I absolutely love the way it fits in our bedroom.

 photo bedroom1_zpskhnclfma.jpg

A tale of two tables...

One of the best ways to add interest to your decor is to think outside the box when it comes to furniture function. Need a side table? How about a tree stump? Looking for a new coffee table? What about an oversized drum? For our new master bedroom, I really wanted to be creative with nightstands. I didn't want them to match, and I loved the idea of using something unexpected. So, I hit the, the antique search of something interesting that would be a good height next to a platform bed. For those of you who live in Nashville, one of my favorite spots is 8th Avenue Antiques.

On my hunt, I found two things that fit the bill! First, this bar cart.  photo BE6ED586-192C-4346-A970-6A3A3CC1F87D_zps5vde4rhr.jpg It looks nicer in this picture than it actually was. The shelves are thing particle board with a layer of wood grain paper on top, and the "wooden" arms were actually stick on...yikes. Just recently I visited Graceland...the home of 1970s decor (and Elvis Presley), and this bar cart would have fit right into that tacky 70s shrine. But I saw sparkle in its future.  photo IMG_8766_zpsgiai06et.jpg  photo IMG_8769_zpstawvz2ru.jpg Did you know you can buy mirror pieces at Lowes or Home Depot and they will cut them for you in store? I found a mirror for $12 that was the exact length and exactly twice the width that I needed to replace the "wood" particle board, so I had them cut it in half in store, took it home, and stuck the pieces on the cart. Then I scraped off the "wood" sticker arms, and voila. Done. Easiest transformation ever! No tools and no paint, and I ended up with a fantastic nightstand alternative for less than $50.

 photo IMG_8991_zpsqn58bcg4.jpg

The box that says "Antiques" is what I use to store what I would normally put in a nightstand drawer, and on top a couple of picture frames, books, and a lamp from home Goods finish out the simple styling.  photo bedroom12_zpsehcwtppq.jpg  photo bedroom11_zpsah3kpfst.jpg For Jeremy's nightstand, I found a mid-century side table that was a little scratched and dated, but I knew some paint would spruce it up, and the size and scale were perfect. It sits across from a mid-century dresser, so I like the combination.  photo 07AB7D79-6DE3-4EFB-BD87-3E91A0BB1B46_zpsca3fstg2.jpg I just painted three coats of Glidden Gripper Primer (for more on painting laminate furniture, see this post) and two coats of plain white semi-gloss paint. It doesn't look perfect, but as The Nester would say, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.  photo IMG_8971_zps9uum1smm.jpg

So think outside the box when it comes to accent furniture. You never know what you might find!

Garage to Master Bedroom REVEAL!

Over six months ago, we started deconstruction on our garage in preparation for a new Master suite. Today I am sharing the AFTER! Keep scrolling for some long awaited photos and the biggest reveal this blog has ever seen. This is the first time I have waited until the decorating was complete to share "after" photos, so the last you saw, the room was still a construction mess. Let's go on a little journey.... First of all, I will show you the walk out basement floorplan that I made when we first moved in to give you a feel for where the garage was situated in the house.  photo basementfloorplan_zps24e83b69.jpg We have never once parked a car in the garage. We park in the carport, so the garage was just extra storage space. It looked like this for about a year and a half...  photo garage2_zps1be2d16b.jpg The construction was so poorly done to begin with that it was best to start from scratch, so we stripped it to studs and installed a window...  photo progress4_zps87246707.jpg Then we installed drywall, installed recessed lighting, raised the height of the air duct, divided the room to build a closet, and spent months on construction. All the little things take time (especially when it was pretty much just my husband by himself and me when I could be useful). For more construction details, see here.  photo progress10_zps271e33c6.jpg And when I last left you, it looked a little bit like this.  photo paint4_zps99c9c1c4.jpg After lots of paint, accessories, DIY projects, and furniture shopping, it is now officially DONE. Drum roll please...  photo bedroom1_zpskhnclfma.jpg

Tada!! I'm sure I will tweak things over time like adding throw pillows to the bed and such, but for now, I am calling it done. I wanted sophisticated neutral, I wanted it to feel like things had been collected over time, and I wanted the contrasts of light and dark and vintage and modern. I think it was accomplished!

This room was especially fun because we pretty much started from scratch on everything. We didn't reuse a single piece of furniture. Every other room in our house started with hand me down furniture. This one started with a blank slate. After two years of living in our home, I feel like I know better than ever what my personal style is...and this room embodies that well. We were still working with a definite budget and did a lot of DIY and bargain hunting, but I enjoy being creative with the confines of a budget.

You ready for the grand tour?

When you first walk in from the basement, you will see this.  photo bedroom2_zpsrak9l1y8.jpg

I painted the walls a very pale gray, and I wanted to highlight the contrast of dark and light neutrals everywhere. The white bedding against the charcoal headboard (which we made ourselves!!! Full tutorial to come...), the contrasting colors in the map on the wall, the dark floors with light walls, the gold against the gray on the card catalog, etc. I used creams and whites and tans and grays. I love coordination without being matchy matchy.

Now here is the view from the master closet (which I will show in a future post. It isn't quite ready for a closeup)  photo bedroom8_zpsjlwn6zgs.jpg Once again, contrast. Vintage style rug against modern platform bed. Cool metals against warm woods and grays. Traditional plates hanging above mid century modern dresser. Also, notice that I worked hard to balance colors and shapes around the room. The round plates play off the round mirror opposite and the round lamp shade. They all stand in contrast with the sharp lines of more modern furniture. White lamp shade and mirror balance with the white bedding.

Now here is the view looking from the window.  photo bedroom9_zpsdf8atkoi.jpg

To give you your bearings, the door on the left goes into the extra large walk in closet ('s like a room in there. It even has its own window. I will show more soon). The door on the right goes back into the basement den. There is a bathroom off of the den by the outside door. It would have been nice to connect it to the bedroom, but it would have required a lot more work and money, so we just walk around which doesn't bother us.

The column in the middle of the room used to be a metal pole, so we encased it in MDF and added trim to make it look like an architectural feature. And the dip in the ceiling used to be twice as low. The air ducts are housed up there, and Jeremy cut them and rerouted the pipes to raise the ceiling. Yes, my husband is a stud.  photo bedroom4_zpsr5zbmdrg.jpg

See that built in bookshelf next to the dresser? That is actually a door! Behind it is more storage space which is a complete disaster right now. Jeremy custom built the bookshelf to function as a door. Did I mention he is a stud?  photo bedroom7_zps33lrlawn.jpg On the right above is the vintage bar cart that I converted to a nightstand. I picked it up at an antique store for $30 and had mirrors custom cut at the hardware store for the shelves for $12. I will do another post about that one soon.  photo bedroom5_zpsocfcatl2.jpg Now the bed...  photo bedroom10_zpsisp6i8i7.jpgWe just upgraded to a king sized bed for the first time, and we love it. We got our mattress on Overstock of all places, and it was shipped to us vacuum packed. The bedding is simple. I can't even decide if I want to add throw pillows. I wanted it to feel like a hotel. Crisp and clean. There is gray scalloped piping around the shams and duvet if you look closely.

The headboard was a major labor of love, and I will share more soon.

Jeremy's nightstand was another antique store find for $25. I painted the top white and left the legs brown. The nightstand lamps were reused from when our master bedroom was upstairs.  photo bedroom6_zpswmedybps.jpg

Thanks for touring the room with me! I have never been so excited for a blog post before. We saved our pennies for about a year before we started, and we have been working on this room for 6 months, so it feels like such a thrill to finally call it done.

All told, we did all the construction and renovation on this room for around $3000 (not including furniture and decor). We are pretty stoked about that cost. When we first had a contractor come look at the space, we were quoted around $2000 JUST to remove the garage door and put up the outside wall and window (not including materials). That didn't include any of the other construction we did! We finished the window and wall the first weekend and still had months left of work on our hands...imagine how quickly labor costs would have added up! So Jeremy rolled up his sleeves and did the work himself. It took longer, but it saved us so much money which allows us to continue saving for future renovations.

Because we saved a little bit each month over nearly a year, we had enough to do everything we wanted to do and get the furniture we needed without breaking a sweat. We are both budgeting people, and it is a great feeling to be able to make a vision a reality with money already set aside. No stress! Then we bargain hunted and found some amazing, one of a kind pieces that I know we will treasure for years to come.

For those of you who like all the details, here is a complete source list. If that's not you, then thanks for reading and talk to you later :-) xoxo. Wall paint color: Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore (lightened by 50%) Floor paint color: Gray 2121-10 by Benjamin Moore Platform Bed: Ebay. Painted Graphite by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint with one coat of clear wax. Headboard: DIY. Fabric from Brentwood Interiors. More details to come. Mattress: Overstock. Slumber Solutions 10-in gel memory foam mattress. Sheets: Home Goods Blanket: Macy's - Martha Stewart Duvet Insert: Home Goods Duvet Cover/Shams: Home Goods Mirrored Nightstand: DIY from an Antique Store find Round rope mirror: Kirklands Rug: Home Goods Nightstand Oil Rubbed Bronze Lamps: Home Goods "Antiques" Box on nightstand: Home Goods Card Catalog: Antique Store...painted Graphite by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (more info) Large Map Art: World Market Curtains: IKEA Left side nightstand: Antique Store Round clock on nightstand: Home Goods Mid-century dresser: moving sale Large rectangular mirror: came with dresser Plates: From my grandmother. Hung with this method Lamp: Target Various picture frames and accessories: from my mom, antique stores, thrift stores, and shopped from my home

I'm noticing a pattern...I like to shop at Home Goods. :-)

Thanks for reading this far! I have received some positive feedback on the blog recently, and I can't tell you how much every single compliment means to me. Thanks for blessing my heart!


Springtime Living Room & Coffee Table Update with Annie Sloan

Our living room was the first room that I "finished" when we moved in. But when is any room ever really finished?I have continued to make updates a bit at a time in the last two years. New pillows, updated accessories, etc. This past week on social media, I posted this picture of our living room and took a poll on what I should do with the coffee table. It was a hand-me-down from a family member that was originally in Jeremy's college apartment, and while it looked okay from a distance, it was pretty sad up close. Scratched, warped, dented, etc. I knew I either needed to paint it or strip and refinish it, so I polled the great people of the internet.  photo Fall6_zps3602c632.jpg

The safe choice would have been to keep it wood. Everything blended together nicely and the wood played off the other wood in the room, but it was too matchy matchy for me. I wanted a pop of contrast. So while I took those opinions into consideration, in the end I went with my gut...  photo livingroomcoffeetable9_zpsycin52ww.jpg

Charcoal gray! I had some leftover Annie Sloan Chalk paint in Graphite from the card catalog  and bed frame I painted recently. It took two coats of paint and 2 coats of wax, and it is all done (side note: I can't believe I was able to do 3 substantial pieces of furniture with one quart of chalk paint. A little goes a long way!)  photo livingroomcoffeetable4_zpsz38q8onh.jpg

I'm really pleased with the way it turned out, and despite the fact that we are having yet another snow day here in Nashville, I spruced up the room for Spring with some fresh flowers. Let me show you around!

I'm dying to paint those cabinets in the kitchen. I'm hoping to get that done by the end of April. White kitchen here I come!  photo livingroomcoffeetable2_zpsebpsvnoz.jpg

We love our record player! There's nothing like the sound of a record spinning while I'm cooking dinner.  photo livingroomcoffeetable10_zpsoqw33vna.jpg  photo livingroomcoffeetable3_zpsiy7mpcm8.jpg

I love our cozy corner banquette! One of my favorite projects to date. The light is from World Market, the roman shades are from JC Penney and the plates are from various thrift stores.  photo banquettespring15_zpsc0duq55u.jpg  photo livingroomcoffeetable6_zpszt0lho77.jpg

With the sunlight streaming in, you wouldn't know that it's about 15 degrees outside and snowy! But I'm pretending it's Spring...



3 Steps to an Updated Dresser

Have you ever been shopping at a thrift store or yard sale and passed by a piece of furniture that you loved because you assumed that it would take too much work to make it look shiny and new? Sometimes, it is too much work. If it has whole pieces of wood missing or is just plywood covered in cheap veneer, it might be time to say farewell. Other times, a piece of furniture just needs a few simple steps to make it something special. Jeremy and I stumbled across a moving sale one day, and an arsenal of items we didn't care about was sitting on top of a beautiful mid-century dresser without a price tag. The woman said she would love to sell it and that it belonged to her parents in the 1950s. I offered her $50. She took it! Compared to the $300-$500 price tags I have seen on mid-century dressers on Craigslist, I was pleased as punch to shell over 50 bucks.  photo dresser_zps332810e8.jpg

I wish these photos could better show how dirty and gross it was. It had been stored in a garage and definitely had some water damage going on. In fact, we don't use two of the drawers because they are hard to open since the water damage. But for $50, it was worth it.

 photo dresser8_zps91de5ed7.jpg

Mittens loves this dresser...  photo kitty2_zpsfda70db5.jpg

If you pick up a dirty, old piece of wooden furniture, here are 3 quick steps to making it shiny and new. Assuming it is real wood and that you're just dealing with dirt, grime and minor scratches, I guarantee a "wow" result.

1. Wipe everything down with soap and water

Give it a good, old fashioned cleaning. It's amazing what dirt and grime can hide on wooden surfaces.

2. Use Mr. Clean's Magic.  photo dresser4_zps66972aa0.jpg A Magic Eraser really is that. There were water rings on the top that I thought would never come off. Marks and stains magically lifted. It's gross what is hiding!

 photo dresser7_zpsace1aa93.jpgBefore on the left. After on the right.  photo dresser9_zpse490bc92.jpg 3. Use Restor-a-finish

 photo dresser6_zpsca4024be.jpgRestor-a-finish is like watered down stain. Not as difficult to use or messy as stain. It can be found at Home Depot (I haven't found it at Lowes).

This is just a wipe-on product that helps to mask little imperfections in wood. I was shocked by what a difference it made!  photo dresser10_zps648d78f2.jpg

Voila! 3 steps and done!

 photo dresser2_zps197d9a0d.jpg  photo dresser11_zps6bfdd120.jpg  photo dresser1_zps8f19d36d.jpg Styling is still underway, and I can't wait to show you what this baby looks like in light of the whole room! Room reveal coming soon!


Annie Sloan Chalk Paint & A Vintage File Cabinet

Today, I get to show you what may now be my favorite piece of furniture in our house. period. Say hello to my vintage card catalog.  photo cardcatalog7_zpsee1487e7.jpg

Jeremy & I went on an antique hunt last August when Jeremy surprised me with a weekend trip to St. Louis. One of our favorite things to do in new cities is to find an antique store and look for a unique piece to remind us of that trip. Armed with some birthday money, I came home with an old, beat up metal filing cabinet/card catalog that I absolutely fell in love with for only $75. When I went next door and found another metal filing cabinet for over $400, I felt good about the purchase. I saw the potential, but I knew that painting it would be quite a project, so in the midst of so many things, I have put it off for nearly 6 months.  photo cardcatalog2_zps87614877.jpg

My mom has been raving lately about Annie Sloan chalk paint and the way that it adheres to everything. I've heard about it for years, and I thought maybe this metal cabinet was my chance to give it a shot...

I'm not usually an early adopter. It is just not my style. I am still boasting an iPhone 4. I didn't start Harry Potter until long after all the books had been released. I wore flare jeans for way too long and rolled my eyes at the silly new "skinny jean" trend until I finally caved and threw out the flare. That being said, it took me a long time to get on the Annie Sloan chalk paint train. I kept hearing about this magic paint that didn't require sanding or priming, but I was determined that I didn't need any of that voodoo paint.

The idea of not sanding and priming every nook and cranny of this metal cabinet, however, made the new paint just too tempting. So, I took the plunge, and I'm so glad I did.

The piece looked fine from a distance, but when you looked up close, it told a different story. I feel like this thing was in an old high school and kids scratched into it with their keys while waiting for the principals office. There were strange marks and some graffiti.  photo cardcatalog4_zpscced174b.jpg  photo cardcatalog3_zpsfb5aa540.jpg

I removed all the drawers so I could paint more easily and went to town.  photo cardcatalog8_zpsb2ebb15b.jpg

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite with a coat of clear wax on top. After two coats and a few touch ups, I decided to add some gold paint to the handles for a pop of contrast. I just used small little paint brushes and painstakingly painted the gold on 28 drawers. Phew.  photo cardcatalog6_zps232d4373.jpg

Finally, I added a coat of Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax for added protection and a little bit of sheen.

I love the vintage look with the modern touch of the dark color and the contrast of the gold.  photo cardcatlog1_zpsd10c20c3.jpg So here are my final thoughts after using ASCP for the first time on both metal and wood (I also painted our new king sized platform bed...more pictures to come)

Con: - It is pricey! $36/quart plus and $26 for the wax. Keep in mind, however, that you a little goes a long way! - It has a very distinctive look with a lot of texture. This paint is made for texture and a vintage feel. Although the Graphite color has a hint of modern in it, if you're looking for sleek, smooth, modern furniture, it isn't the right paint. - Waxing. I didn't think waxing was terrible, but it's also an extra step that takes some time to get used to it.

Pro: - A little goes a long way! I painted a king sized bed frame and this entire piece, and I still have at least 1/3 of a quart of paint left. - The textured look makes the paint look custom. - It adheres SO WELL to anything. From wood to metal, it really stays put. - Easy, easy, easy. I just love how easy it is and how difficult it is to mess it up. I just used a regular old brush and went to town. No prep. Any mistakes were easy to fix.

I can't wait to use it some more!

 photo cardcatalog7_zpsee1487e7.jpgSignature



360 degrees of paint + a few paint buying tricks.

When I last left you, every single surface of our room needed to be painted. We saw the progress, but to you it probably looked like a jumbled mess. It needed a 360 degree paint job. photo progress11_zps85c4b58e.jpg

We are singing "Hallelujah!" as this major project is winding down. It has been quite the undertaking. We started from studs (for more on that, click here) and we have not hired a single contractor for this job. It has been done 100% on our own and with the consulting help of my engineer father-in-law.

Now everything is painted! And I mean EVERYTHING!! The ceiling, trim, walls, and floor all got a few coats of paint. The trim still needs some touch up, but it is coming along.  photo paint4_zps99c9c1c4.jpg

It's amazing what a few coats of paint can do, isn't it?

To paint the floor, we followed this tutorial from Vintage Revivals.  photo paint2_zps8d0fcf51.jpg  photo paint6_zpse7ae02e5.jpg

For those who like specifics, the floor and wall colors are both by Benjamin Moore and were color matched to other brands of paint (more on that below). The walls are Stonington Gray lightened by 50% in Olympic One paint and the floors are just called Gray 2121-10 in Sherwin Williams Porch & Floor Paint.  photo paint5_zps73dd8b06.jpg Here is the closet! This was before we finished installing the quarter round on the baseboards.  photo paint3_zps97f67e82.jpg

I bought pretty specific formulas for this job. And we used a lot of paint. So...I thought I would share a few of my tips for buying and using paints.

1. For high end colors at lower prices, learn how to color match. 


For months, I saw bloggers reference the term "color match," and I had no idea what that meant. It all seemed so black and white to me. If you buy Valspar paint, you use Valspar colors from the little kiosk in Lowe's, right? If you want Benjamin Moore colors, you have to shell out the $50+ per can of paint at a specialty store?

Not true.

I love the selection that Benjamin Moore has in their paint colors. And often times when I look on Pinterest or in a magazine, the colors I fall in love with are Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams. I know those high end brands have high end paint quality, but in our current home, I care about coverage and color, but I'm not worried about paint colors lasting 20 years or being the most expensive on the market, so enter the beloved color match. 

So far, my favorite paint to handle is Olympic One from Lowe's which runs around $25 a gallon. It's got great coverage and consistency, and of all the brands I have tried, it has been my favorite. The great thing is that Lowe's has the formulas for all the brands in their system (the same is true of most retailers), so I simply tell them "I would like a gallon of Olympic One in Eggshell color matched to Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore"...or "Sunny Yellow by Valspar" or "Light French Gray by Sherwin Williams" or whatever color I've chosen at the moment.

And they mix it up and send me on my way.

The colors may not be 100% as accurate as Benjamin Moore paint, but I haven't been disappointed yet! Half the price. Done.

2. Lighten up. 

It is hard to find the right shade. So when I find it, I am thrilled. In the case of our basement, I knew Stonington Gray was the right shade.  On the cool side of gray, but it doesn't lean too purple or too blue. We have LED lights in this room, so the undertones of colors tend to be more vibrant. But, I wanted it to be really light and airy in a room with low ceilings and dark floors.

Enter, the lightening factor.  photo paint7_zps4e57d50a.jpg

I simply had Lowe's "lighten the color by 50%." I have done this before, and it works wonders. It is a mixture of 50% white and 50% stonington gray, and it is EXACTLY what I wanted. Don't feel stuck at one saturation...just tell em to lighten up! Want 75/25? No problem!

3. Use a good angled brush. 

 With a steady hand and a good angled brush, you can avoid using painter's tape. My favorite brush is this one. 2" with a short handle. It's easy to maneuver and makes those edges and corners a synch. 

4. If you must use tape, use the frog. 


Frog tape is awesome for three reasons. 1. It's green. 2. It's called frog tape. 3. If you use a wet washcloth and wipe down the tape, you will get the most crisp line you've ever seen. That's a trick I recently learned, and it changed my paint taping life. It's like a frog sticking it's little webbed feet on your wall and creating a barrier for the paint.

5. Paint without fear. 

The best part about paint? You can paint over it. If you paint all your walls and realize you don't like the color, it is fairly easy and inexpensive to try again. Painting is one of the most effective ways to make a big change for a small amount of money.

And in my case, with raw drywall and concrete floors, paint was kinda a necessity.

Up next...more details on our closet.


Deconstructing the Construction Zone & A Preview of What's to Come

We have been living in a construction zone since September. Our entire basement is covered in a layer of drywall dust that has drifted out from the new master bedroom. Jeremy  has been working so hard, and let me just list for you the things he has accomplished. - Removed existing drywall on walls and ceiling - Installed insulation - Built an outside wall and installed a window (with the help of his dad on this one) - Built a new wall to create a closet - Hung Drywall on walls and ceiling - Mudded and sanded drywall (I helped a bit with this step) - Raised air ducts 6 inches for more ceiling clearance - Built a door that looks like a bookshelf...from scratch. - Re-routed all the lighting from one central light to 6 flushmounts (I didn't know I married an electrician).

My husband is so handy! What a stud. I still can't believe he did so much by himself. There were moments of frustration and a few slip ups in the process. For example, he drilled into a water line and water spewed out all over the room. But, overall, he worked hard toward a goal and we saved unbelievable amounts of money by not hiring help. I may do cost breakdown later on with the big reveal.  photo DB5AFDDF-63A4-4615-B92B-280895FDFBD1_zpsnasuddsl.jpg

For now, I leave you with some progress. If you were to come over now, you would see the walls and ceiling primed and painted, and they are looking lovely, but I will save those photos for another day. We are planning on beginning to move furniture in NEXT WEEK, guys!

We do not claim to be construction experts. Jeremy's dad has a lot of experience with this kind of renovation and was always a phone call away, but until this point we hadn't really ventured past the furniture flipping and building, wall painting kind of DIY. So, I will spare you all the details because I don't think we are the right people to teach you how to do construction, but I still want to share an overview.

We started here. With a regular old one car garage.  photo Before2_zpsa312afbb.jpg  photo Before1_zpse1c62859.jpgTo be honest, it looks better than it was. We thought we could get away with just adding the outside wall and then painting the existing walls and calling it a day.

Who were we kidding? It's never that easy.

Our basement (of which this garage is included) was finished out in 2009 after the house was foreclosed on and purchased by a house flipping company. They cut all kinds of corners and did a really poor job with the finishing work. In order to make the room really look like an intentional bedroom rather than an old garage, we had to start from scratch...

So this happened.  photo progress4_zps87246707.jpg

But first, the garage door came out and a window went in...  photo progress3_zps41559bc6.jpg  photo progress9_zps64aaf3d9.jpgBetter pictures to come of that outside wall once everything is finished. It still needs another coat of paint.

Anyway, back to the see that really low hanging section in the middle? That is a terrible air vent that hung 12 inches from the ceiling. There was no way to remove it completely, but Jeremy was able to re-route the ducts to the top and raise the entire thing by 6 inches.

 photo progress6_zpsdd3b096a.jpg It's hard to tell in this photo, but here it is raised. The mark on the pole (which will eventually be boxed in like a proper column) is a good indication of where it used to be.  photo progress7_zps98a23020.jpg

A close up preview of the lights he installed and the door/shelf he built.  photo Progress2_zps418be981.jpg

And I leave you with a couple more photos of the process  photo progress10_zps271e33c6.jpg  photo progress11_zps85c4b58e.jpg

Here is what we have left:

- Prime everything - Paint walls and ceiling - Paint floors (Dark Charcoal Gray) - Install baseboards - Install trim around shelf door - Paint all trim and doors - Install closet hardware

That is what's left before the room itself is done. We still have a lot to do for the decor part of things. But we have gotten some great new furniture pieces lately and our mattress came in next week. Here is a preview of what's to come...

This duvet.  photo MarocDuvet_zpsbd0e3c10.jpg And this dresser which I will refinish. Swoon.  photo dresser_zpse3fe2977.jpg

Such a tiny taste of all the projects coming down the pike!

Stay tuned, friends.

Feeling Roman in the Kitchen

Our whole house came with basic vinyl mini blinds, and we have been working room-by-room to slowly replace them with better/more sophisticated options. Mini blinds are pretty much only good because they are cheap; I can't think of any other benefits. White Roman Shade Update ~ All Precious & Pleasant We removed them completely in the office and went with curtains only... White Roman Shade Update ~ All Precious & Pleasant We used bamboo blinds in the bedroom... Steven Alan Golden Gate Duvet from West Elm The next on our list was the kitchen. (The guest room is the final room to tackle). White Roman Shade Update ~ All Precious & Pleasant

Our need for change was accelerated by the fact that one of the blinds snapped in two on top when I raised it. Quality, I tell ya. So I dug around for options I liked. I thought about roller shades, bamboo shades, wooden blinds, and several DIY options. In the end, due to cost, size availability, and style, I decided to go with white Roman shades. I felt like bamboo could be too many contrasting wood tones in light of the current cabinet color (which will hopefully be changed soon), and I would have had to fork over more cash than I wanted to get the quality and style that I wanted in roller shades.  photo kitchennookshades2_zps121165ae.jpg White Roman Shades ~ All Precious & Pleasant I love how fresh white is, and I want as much natural light in our kitchen as possible while still maintaining privacy (our kitchen windows are really close to our neighbor's driveway), so white Roman shades did the trick. White Roman Shades ~ All Precious & Pleasant Have you ever shopped at JC Penney for your home? It is a recent discovery of mine, and I have been really happy to find it! Shipping is always free to store, and free to home over $99. So I ordered all the right sizes in this roman shade, and Jeremy installed them. We installed them high and wide to expand the look of the windows.

What do you think of the white? And how do you cover the windows in your kitchen?


Laundry Room Update & Clipboard Art Frames for $3 or less!

Sometimes I try complicated and time consuming projects. Sometimes I spend less than 3 dollars on 2 "frames" and update my laundry room with paint I already have. And I feel great about it. Our laundry room is a windowless little nook with low ceilings and an awkward shape in the basement. And it has looked pretty dire since we moved in.  photo laundrybefore_zps7438c3a8.jpg  photo laundry1_zps19745846.jpg

So Jeremy used some wood leftover from tearing down closet doors in the former garage  to build some shelves above the washer/dryer which automatically upped our storage game.  photo laundryafter_zps468d5023.jpg I used some leftover paint from the bathroom remodel (Gibraltar by Sherwin Williams) to paint a little accent wall.

Then I created the cheapest art ever!

I bought two clipboards at Walmart for less than $3 combined, and I used the existing tab on top to hang them on the wall like frames. Then I clipped up some art printables I got online. And they are so easy to interchange seasonally or for whatever I want!  photo laundry2_zps42f480b8.jpg  photo laundry3_zps9a52e19a.jpg The "Be Brave" print came from Etsy. I bought it for decorating my cubicle at work! purchase your own printable here!  photo cubicle_zps57df1a0e.jpg

The cute laundry print was a free printable. Download your own here! 

 photo laundry4_zps31abf346.jpg  photo laundry6_zps6f370a8e.jpg

This super quick and easy update makes this a much nicer place to do laundry! I would love to find a colorful rug and install some more permanent shelving on the left side wall. Signature

Painted Kitchen Door

I have mentioned that there isn't anything particularly spectacular about our kitchen. I am so grateful for it. It's spacious and has plenty of storage and the cabinets are sturdy and fairly new. The appliances work great. But it's not my style. I can live with it, quite happily, however. It helps me make food to nourish our family, and it can hold plenty of people.  photo naturalarearugs1_zps8fb9b08c.jpg


But I recently did a little update that is adding some "happy" to my space for less than $5.

 photo painteddoor7_zpsf3f36b67.jpg

Back it up. I had been really inspired by colored pantry doors like this and this.

We don't have a pantry door, but we do have a basement door in our kitchen. But it looked like this.  photo painteddoor4_zps436beb8f.jpg

That hole had been there since we moved in. I kept thinking we would have to get an entirely new door, but then I realized it wouldn't take that much work. So I picked up some wood filler, the only thing I had to buy, and patched that hole in no time.

Then I wiped down the trim with soap and water (amazing what that will do), and tried out three sample colors that I already had.

From top to bottom: Knoxville Gray (Benjamin Moore), Valley Hills (Valspar), Gibraltar (Sherwin Williams)  photo painteddoor6_zpse0b0a41b.jpg

Then I chose the only color that I had enough paint left to use without buying anything new. The middle. Valley Hills (the same color as our upstairs bathroom).

I removed the doorknob, taped over the hinges, and used a foam roller brush to paint it down. It was really easy! And really low commitment. If I want to paint it back later or paint it a different color, it hardly cost me a thing!  photo painteddoor1_zps2e6c842d.jpg


Have you painted any doors lately? I'm thinking about doing ALL the doors in our house a medium gray. I think it adds some sophistication and character. What do you think?




Bedroom Update & West Elm Crush

I have a story about how things are not always as they seem... You see. Our bedroom looked really good the last time I showed you.

Master Bedroom Reveal - All Precious & Pleasant Blog

But the truth about that gorgeous blue Anthropologie comforter wasn't quite as pretty.

It pulled apart easily, had loose threads everywhere (I had to repair it several times), had a patch where I spilled bleach, showed cat hair like crazy, was incredibly difficult to wash, and made me frustrated daily. I was getting so fed up with it constantly looking dirty and hairy and having to repair the tufts that one day I woke up and decided to buy a new comforter.

Steven Alan Golden Gate Duvet from West Elm

Enter: leftover Macy's gift cards from our wedding two years ago and a West Elm bedding sale.

Steven Alan Golden Gate Duvet from West Elm

The day I decided to get something new, Jeremy and I picked up an amazing Calvin Klein Down Alternative Comforter at Macy's with a gift card I found hiding in my wallet. Then we hopped over to West Elm to pick something out on a whim. I normally spend a really long time deliberating choices, but the hubs and I worked together to pick something out in a matter of minutes.

And we took it home and it was all wrong.

So we took it back and got the Steven Alan Stripe Duvet in Golden Gate.

Then I loved it, but I second guessed myself for two weeks so I ordered a solid white duvet and waited for it to come in. Because I LOVE solid white bedding, am I right? And it's the most versatile.

But then I put it on the bed and it just wasn't right. We needed some interest and color!

So, here is where we landed, and I love it more every time I look at it! I love the touch of masculinity, the addition of the golden yellow into the room, and I really like it in conjunction with the Organic Sparrow Song shams. Steven Alan Golden Gate Duvet from West Elm Steven Alan Golden Gate Duvet from West Elm

Mittens loves it, too.

Steven Alan Golden Gate Duvet from West Elm

It may not be as versatile as a solid white duvet, but I'm gonna enjoy the fun pop of color and the gorgeous fabric.

So what do you think? Fun, patterned bedding or plain romantic white? Which do you prefer?

Also, West Elm is still running a 20% off all bedding sale. And there are about 20 duvets that I wanted. I wish we had a 20 bedroom house. Well...not really. But seriously, now's your chance to update your bedding. I am not compensated by West Elm. I just have a big crush on their style.




Office Happiness

We call this room the office. It's really more of a reading/writing room. Whatever it is, I love it. I love it the most of all rooms in our house. Because in the mornings, I get just the right amount of light streaming in that window to sit in that comfy chair and read my bible and journal. And in the evenings I can write a song on the piano. And it just feels like a room that doesn't need clutter or a lot of use. Yesterday I updated you on my faux pallet wall, so today I thought I would give you a good overview of how the room is looking as a whole.

This is how the room started. Just a basic beige like the rest of the house.

House Tour - All Precious & Pleasant

So, we have painted everything Revere Pewter at 50% strength, brought in a desk that we have since moved to the basement, purchased an antique mantel from Craigslist, installed a pallet wall, accessorized, brought in an arm chair, ottoman, side table, and lamp, hung white curtains, taken down the mini blinds, accessorized the book shelves, and moved my keyboard into the room to make it more of an intentional music space. My favorite update was the industrial light that we installed.

Come on in!

 photo office2_zps5caf0ba6.jpg  photo office1_zps3f5e83a3.jpg  photo fauxpalletwall3_zps56efc603.jpg  photo fauxpalletwall2_zps3cc3f1fc.jpg  photo office3_zpsf3ba398a.jpg So, now, the main thing that is missing is a rug, but I can't decide what size and where it should go. I love the way Dana from House Tweaking uses Turkish Kilim Rugs all the way through her house. They are to die for! But they also make my wallet want to die! Any tips for a good deal on a Kilim rug?

I mean look how beautiful the richness and colors. I feel like that could be what this room needs.


So, give me your rug shopping tips. Or just give me a rug.

Source list: Paint Color: Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore at 50% strength. Mantel: Craigslist Chalkboard: Flea market DIY project Globe figurine: Antique Store Ottoman: Nashville Flea Market Side Table: Nashville Flea Market Lamp: Garage Sale Curtains: IKEA Stripe Blanket: IKEA Bookshelves:  hand me downs


Houses are for living {guest room changes}

I have a new house motto. It's unofficial, but here is what I believe: Houses are for living and loving. 

It's that simple. I'm starting to sound like a broken record because I've talked about this concept quite a bit, but I just feel so grateful to have a home because it means we get to make it our own in order to live life together and love each other and others. 

As a result, it is a priority for us to have a good space for guests to visit. That was the basement, but since we moved the home studio into what was the guest room and have yet to finish out the garage (contractor came Friday to give us an estimate!), the guest room has moved upstairs into what was just our spare room (where I keep all of my clothes since this old house has tiny closets.) I don't want it to stay here simply because there is only one bathroom upstairs and it's nice for guests to have their own space, but for now it will do quite nicely.

So, here is a look back at the stages of this room... Guest Room Progress - All Precious & Pleasant Blog Wow! What a difference, right?! Guest Room Progress...All Precious & Pleasant Blog Guest Room Progress...All Precioius & Pleasant Blog Guest Room Progress...All Precioius & Pleasant Blog This is a temporary and incomplete set up, but I already love it. Here is what I did:

- Painted the walls Chelsea Gray and the ceiling White Dove by Benjamin Moore. - Moved the bed up from downstairs - Used existing french provincial furniture (belonged to Jeremy's mom when she was younger) - Used existing wingback chair (one of my favorite furniture finds) - Used existing curtains (Home Goods...and not the right length.) - Shopped the house for a side table and accessories. - Used existing bedding.

So, moral of the story, all I've done is use things I already had and paint the room. But it already feels like it's starting to be guest ready with just that!

Here are some plans for the space:

- Get a white duvet cover, white shams, and throw pillows to accent the bed (this will eventually move with the bed down to the basement when the guest room opens back up down there) - Paint the black bed frame white - Get matching curtains for both windows (probably just white. The existing curtains will likely be used for throw pillow covers because they are too short for the windows and came from home goods so I won't be able to find them again.) Eventually bring in a day bed for this room once this bed moves downstairs - Art for the walls.

The wall color is Chelsea Gray by Benjamin Moore, and I already want to find another room to paint this color. I LOVE it! It is such a good, rich gray. I'm sorta wishing our whole living room/kitchen was this color, but it is a bit dark. Maybe bottom cabinets someday when we paint the kitchen cabinets?

Just for a reminder, here is what the guest bedroom looked like in the basement... Guest Room Progress...All Precioius & Pleasant Blog

I think I would love to add some mint or navy accents in accessories around the room in addition to the coral quilt. I love the contrast of the white and gray with pops of color for a guest room.

Here are some inspiring photos (click for sources)... Guest Room Progress...All Precioius & Pleasant Blog Guest Room Progress...All precious & pleasant blog Guest Room Progress...All precious & Pleasant Blog


And one more progress pic for good measure...  photo guestroom3_zps8b3ce028.jpg