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!


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.

2014 In Review

It's a week into the new year, and I'm just now getting to writing this post. Because life is busy and change is coming. I love blogging, and soon (with the master bedroom nearing completion), I will have a lot more to say, but in the last couple months I have taken a step back from the blog, and it has been great. But, a lot of good things still happened in 2014. More than I realized. So,  here are a few highlights.

I talked about what it's like to be a road wife (one of my most shared posts).

We did a major basement bathroom overhaul.  photo bathroom2_zps666fc83d.jpg

We celebrated two years of marriage, and I talked about dating habits that helped our marriage (another one of my most shared posts.)

We became pet parents.  photo IMG_3015_zps0c99f98d.jpg

We put a new light in the kitchen.

We turned an old craigslist piano into a desk. DIY Antique Piano Desk.

We did some temporary guest room updates.

We created a pallet wall for the office.  photo office1_zps3f5e83a3.jpg

We had a lovely getaway to Chattanooga.

We renovated our master bedroom (which will soon become a guest room). Steven Alan Golden Gate Duvet from West Elm

We did some bench reupholstery.

We built a new industrial coffee table. Industrial Coffee Table - All Precious & Pleasant

We added Roman shades to our kitchen.  photo kitchentour1_zps22f6cdd1.jpg

We updated our laundry room.

We decorated the house for Fall.

We went to England and spent time in London and the Northeast.  photo england19_zps6b24574f.jpg

We hosted our annual fall party.  photo 44399F08-E086-4793-B6E9-AB5094DBF9ED_zpsqgeyryjp.jpg

We started our garage to master bedroom renovation. Our biggest undertaking yet!

We decorated our house for Christmas and took Christmas card photos.  photo ChristmasTour5_zps77796f43.jpg

It's looking like 2015 holds bigger reveals and greater adventures than 2014, and I'm excited to get started!

State of Construction Address

Slow and steady wins the race. It's been over two months since we started our garage to master bedroom renovation.

In that two months, we spent 11 days in a foreign country, and then Jeremy left on tour for 29 shows in 6 weeks. He came home from tour on Tuesday. Hallelujah! So, the progress has been slow and steady. But the amount of money we are saving doing this ourselves is astronomical. And we really aren't in a hurry, so all is well.

So, here is the update.


The view looking from the new closet toward the window. Imagine a tufted headboard and king sized bed against the right hand wall. And four can lights in each corner of the room to replace the weird light in the middle. Oh, yes, and an actual ceiling.

 photo garage_zps0c923547.jpg

This is the angle from the window back toward the new closet.  photo garage2_zps3f0c5a15.jpg  photo garage3_zps505b1ca3.jpg

Look at the size of that closet!  photo garage4_zps8d969663.jpg


You have to have a bit of imagination to picture the future of this room, but imagine this...

Master Bedroom Mood Board This is my vision for the room. I want it to feel like a hotel room. With white bedding, and a fabric headboard. We are aiming to get a king sized bed for the first time, and I am hoping to mix textures and colors. A hint of traditional. A hint of industrial. Lots of neutrals...grays, whites, creams, tans, taupes...with shades of blue and hints of gold. Elegant. Understated.

What do you think? So excited for things to continue coming together. Next, Jeremy will be fixing the ductwork in the ceiling, re-installing ceiling drywall, and likely doing some bathroom renovation in order to create a door into the basement bathroom from the bedroom.

One step at a time.




Garage no more.

We have a major project happening at the Quarles' home, and it's been in the works for over a month before it has gotten any face time here on the blog. About to fix that.

You may remember our garage.

Or you may not...we haven't talked about it much.

It's situated under the house and behind in a rather awkward location. We have a two car carport, so we have never parked a car in it (and the previous owners didn't either). It was just a storage space for junk and spiders.

We knew when we bought the house that we wanted to do something with the space and convert it into a room. Now the work has begun.  photo garage2_zps1be2d16b.jpg  photo garage1_zps5b4bed41.jpg  photo garage3_zps0cd1f12a.jpg  photo garage4_zps0722ee62.jpg  photo garage5_zps7e80d322.jpg Woah. Just like that. No more garage door.  photo garage6_zps41bb0fb1.jpg

And the inside looks like this...part of the ceiling is missing and there is a window where there wasn't one before.  photo garage7_zps522e85c7.jpg  photo garage8_zps0cf31a92.jpg

This is going to be our master bedroom. I was hoping for November...we are thinking more like top of the new year. Both existing bedrooms upstairs will be guest rooms which will be a great space for guests who come to visit.

Here is a rough to-do list and where we are on that list... - Remove garage door  - Demo and remove existing closet  - Build walls and install door for new closet - Close in long skinny closet  - Make opening for long skinny closet in the adjacent den - Install new window  - Install siding outside - Install outdoor electric outlet - Caulk siding - Paint siding - Install new insulation - Install new wall drywall - Remove ceiling drywall in main room section - Install new ceiling drywall - Condense existing ceiling air vents - Install new baseboards - Paint concrete floors a dark gray - Paint walls - Install new light fixture - Install closet hanging hardware

That list is very basic. There are a million little projects. But here is the amazing husband and his dad are doing this all themselves. We are not hiring a contractor. I am helping where I can...and then at the end I will paint and decorated the living daylights out of it.

When all is said and done, the walls will be smooth, everything will make a lot more sense, and it will look like an actual bedroom. I'm pretty excited about it.

It's a little overwhelming to try to explain all the little parts in a single blog post. I will probably just post updates along the way until we get to the more visually exciting things. For now, I leave you with this little video... [youtube=]


DIY Industrial Coffee Table & Basement Inspiration

This past weekend, my handyman was especially handy. He built us a coffee table!Industrial Coffee Table - All Precious & Pleasant This is where we left off with the basement last time you saw it (back in January). BEFORE

We had a friend living with us for a month whose bed was squeezed into this room, so it got us thinking about rearranging things, and this is the set up we landed on. I quite like it, but this room has a LONG way to go in the decor department! Industrial Coffee Table - All Precious & Pleasant Industrial Coffee Table - All Precious & Pleasant

I've been inspired by coffee tables like this one from Restoration Hardware. Industrial Coffee Table - All Precious & Pleasant

So we found several tutorials on Pinterest for industrial coffee tables.

And Jeremy went to work. I absolutely LOVE it. It may be my favorite thing he has built so far! I'm not going to go into a detailed tutorial because there are plenty out there, but I will say that it was really fairly easy once we figured out the right materials that we needed (and went to three stores to find the right parts in stock). Industrial Coffee Table - All Precious & Pleasant The top stain is miniwax dark walnut, and I like the way that it plays with the color in the rug.

So, let's talk about plans for this room. We are currently renovating our garage and converting it into our new master suite. I'm SO excited about that! And there will be lots to share very soon. But once that happens, the rest of the basement will be converted into music studio space which means this little couch area will become a sitting area for the studio and moonlight as our hang out space.

I am so inspired by rooms like this and this.  photo basementinspiration_zps2851eb95.jpg  photo basementinspiration2_zpsf7466448.jpg


But both of these rooms have something that our space lacks: ample natural light. We do have one basement window on the other side of the space, but it is in the carport so it lacks a lot of sunlight. So...maybe we need a little more color to brighten up a sometimes gloomy space with very little architectural interest.

Link West Elm inspiration Inspiration Link

So here are some personal goals for this space:

- Add some color to the room with art on the walls - Replace/cover the current couch pillows - Accessorize! - Decide whether to paint the room or leave it white. - Possibly paint the end table

More to come...


Whitewashed Faux Pallet Wall & Office Update

My dear readers, Let me tell you. This summer has been a good one. I have been busy living and enjoying life, family, and friends, so house projects/this blog have suffered. I keep telling Jeremy "I miss my blog." This is my stress-free creative outlet, and I'm not giving it up, but I have slowed down temporarily because I have been so busy on weekends which is my prime, non-working time to get things done.

But I'm back on the map this week with a project that has been in the works for a long time. I have had the materials for many months, but I just hadn't taken the time to put everything together. When all is said & done, however, this is a pretty simple project, so I happily introduce to you, my whitewashed faux fireplace pallet wall.  photo fauxpalletwall1_zps0cf74648.jpg It isn't actually attached to the wall. It's attached to a cheap piece of plywood. And it cost me about $15 to make. And I think it makes such an impact where there used to be just blank space!

Materials needed: - a piece of plywood cut down in store to fit behind the mantel - pallets (I got these for free by just asking around. I asked on Facebook and a friend was getting rid of some. I asked at Home Depot a bunch of times and one time I got lucky, and the guy passed some along. You can also check craigslist). - A circular saw (for cutting boards) - Liquid nails (which I already had on hand) - Paintable painters caulk - Flat white paint (I picked up a sample pot from Home Depot for $2.98). - Paintbrush - Water - 80 Grit Sandpaper (and a sander if you want to spare yourself some heartache.)

1. Cut down the pallets into strips.

First Jeremy used a sawzall, but I think he realized a circular saw was the way to go on this. Basically we just cut in between the edges and center strip. One cut on each side of the nailed down sections, and you have a handful of strips from each pallet, and it's much easier than taking pallets apart and removing the nails.  photo fauxpalletwall10_zps2343891e.jpg Also, Jeremy's face. Also, this was in the Fall. That's how long ago I started this project.

2. Lay out the boards  photo fauxpalletwall7_zps4dce4380.jpg Just lay everything out on your pre-cut piece of plywood (I got mine cut down in store at Home Depot. Make sure you leave a few extra inches on each side larger than the space you are trying to fill.) It would be fun to do a herringbone or chevron pattern, but it would be important that each board be the exact same length and width. For the sake of ease, and because I had so many different boards, I decided to keep it simple.

Make sure you vary colors and textures for added interest.

3. Glue down the boards

I used 1 and a half tubes of Liquid Nails, and it worked like a charm. I just picked up each board as a I went and squeezed it on in a zig zag pattern.  photo fauxpalletwall8_zps5391004f.jpg 4. Sand everything down.

Because pallets have usually had a rough life, you will probably find lots of jagged edges, splintered wood, and uneven surfaces. I gave mine a good sanding with medium/heavy 80 grit sandpaper and my handy dandy orbital sander. I just wanted to rub out any loose wood splinters and rough edges.

5. Fill in large gaps with painter's caulk.  photo fauxpalletwall5_zps8318f534.jpg I used the basic white paintable caulk from Ace Hardware. I didn't fill in every gap, but because of the varying board sizes, there were some pretty large spaces, and since I wanted this to look like a more permanent fixture, I filled in the spaces.

6. White wash! [youtube=] Here is a little tutorial on how I white washed the boards :-) I really got dolled up for the camera, as you can tell.

7. Cut down the edges to be flush with the original plywood board.

8. Install!  photo fauxpalletwall9_zpsf640d5ec.jpg We simply placed this behind the farmhouse mantel that I got on Craigslist last year. I originally thought we may have to secure it to the wall somehow, but it was light enough and the mantel heavy enough that simply placing it and putting the mantel in front seemed like enough!

That's it. It makes such a subtle impact, and it really makes that mantel feel more intentional!  photo fauxpalletwallbfaft_zpsc9daa357.jpg

Stay tuned tomorrow for a full room tour of our office progress!

Thanks for coming back, y'all! I missed hang out!


Make Your Home Happy

Is Spring/early Summer as busy for you as it is for me? As God breathes warmth back into the earth, we come out of our winter hibernation and whir back to life. I blogged last week about embracing imperfection in our homes. I think I have been writing more about such topics because in the midst of my crazy schedule, I feel like I should maybe give you guys an excuse as to why I haven't had any major before-and-afters to show since last month or so. Note to self: I don't need to make excuses for living life. 

Today is not about an excuse. It is about ways we can love our homes even when we don't have the time or money to make big changes.

Maybe you are discouraged because your home just doesn't feel homey. Or because you are renting so you can't make any big changes. Maybe you are paralyzed by a fear of making the wrong choice, so you don't make any choices. 

First, read this book (I mentioned this last time).  photo nestingplace_zps78412bd2.jpg This is not just a decorating book. It's a book about loving your home. Thank you, Nester, for inspiring me and making me love my home even more.

Secondly, find some small changes today that make you happy and lift your spirits. It doesn't mean you have to build furniture or completely make over a room. Here are some ways I made my home happy this week:

I changed out broken mini blinds over the kitchen sink for this Roman shade. Then I cleaned my kitchen and cut some fresh Oak Leaf Hydrangea  to put in this new vase I got from an antique store this weekend. I think this may be the start of a milk glass collection for yours truly.  photo kitchen2_zpsa87ce682.jpg  photo kitchen3_zpsd7f53565.jpg  photo kitchen1_zpse44d6a74.jpg My sink area is happier. The cabinets are still too orange for my taste and the counters are still Formica, but I get to make the choice whether that affects my happiness in my home.

Also, the coffee. The coffee makes me happy.

I spruced up my mantel for summer with a new chalkboard quote, old books, some hydrangea, and that awesome metal orb compass thing that I got at the same antique store for a steal.  photo simple1_zps25ed3402.jpg And I hung a mirror over my keyboard which is now in the office (more on that move later; I've been doing some furniture re-arranging).  photo simple3_zpsc9049582.jpg

So, what are you going to do today to make your home happier? Homes are for living and loving. So light a candle. Or hang a piece of art. Or re-arrange your furniture. Or buy something small to display on a shelf that other people may not notice but that makes you smile every time you see it. Or bake cookies just because you like the way it makes your home smell.

It doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming to make your house happier. 

Happy Summer!


DIY Antique Piano Desk

Let me start by saying that I can't take credit for this project. This is all compliments of my handsome husband. We are both musicians, and one of the reasons I have been a little quieter on the blog-front is that I have been spending time writing and creating music. Jeremy is an audio engineer, and as I have been writing more songs, he has been anxious to create a space in our home to easily demo those songs and work on his production skills.

His first goal was to find a studio desk, and he had the idea to find an old piano and convert it. I absolutely love the way it turned out. So, basically, I am the messenger because all this is his idea and execution!

DIY Antique Piano Desk.


We found an antique upright piano on Craigslist for $30, and we recruited a few of Jeremy's friends to help us load it up into a trailer. Four guys could barely move it into the trailer. It is unreal how heavy they make these things.

DIY Antique Piano Desk

So here are the materials we used for this conversion: - MDF - Plexiglass (from Lowe's. Cut to fit in store) - White paint - Screws

Simple list!

1. Gut the piano by removing the top front panel & hammers.

This was easier than we expected for the particular piano we have. The front panel removed easily, and taking out the hammers just took a little investigation and unscrewing a few knobs. DIY Antique Piano Desk DIY Antique Piano Desk

2. Cut MDF to fit, paint, and install as shelves.

Jeremy created two shelves. There is a top shelf for the computer monitor and a bottom shelf for some of the other audio gear and panels. Jeremy bought a big thick sheet of MDF and measured pieces to fit the two spots. I primed and painted them a basic white.

DIY Antique Piano Desk

In between the two shelves, he cut a small piece of wood to act as a stabilizer and screwed it into both the top and bottom.

DIY Antique Piano Desk

3. Install plexiglass over keys.

What is a piano without keys? We loved the vintage patina of the old and cracking keys. They aren't ideal for a functioning instrument, but they are great for a desk.

Jeremy had a sheet of plexiglass cut down in store to fit over the keys. Then he screwed into black keys on each end of the keyboard to hold it in place. This allows him to use the keys as another usable desk surface. DIY Antique Piano Desk

4. Dampen the strings

Rather than have the entire chamber of the piano reverberate with every sound, Jeremy dampened the strings by threading simple felt from Walmart through the strings below the main opening so it wouldn't be as visible. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of this part!

5. Install interior lighting.

For $6.99, Jeremy purchased this 3 pack of battery powered tap lights and installed them on the lid of the piano.

DIY Antique Piano Desk And that's it! It was much simpler than we anticipated. Jeremy rolled the piano from the garage to the studio room (thank goodness there were no stairs involved), and the room is starting to take shape!

A little before and after... DIY Antique Piano Desk

DIY Antique Piano Desk


We may eventually try to paint some of the chipping parts of the piano, but for now I kinda love the worn look. It gives it character. Jeremy is planning on getting speaker stands and moving the speakers out of the desk. But for now, this has functioned quite well.

DIY Antique Piano Desk

Excited to show you some changes to our new guest room soon!


Basement Bath Board & Batten Makeover Reveal!

It's a big reveal day on the blog today! I have so many details to share about the steps we took to take our basement bathroom from zero to hero with a few wooden boards and lattice strips. But, first, here is a little photo tour. We started here (photo from the house listing)... simple board & batten

And now... DIY Board & Batten DIY Board & Batten Tutorial DIY Board & Batten Tutorial DIY Board & Batten Tutorial DIY Board & Batten Tutorial

All my plans came to life and I am thrilled with the result. I want to give a good explanation of our personal take on board & batten, but I will say that the tutorial we found the most helpful and followed the most closely is over at Young House Love. 

They also seemed to have a much smoother time with it than I did, so maybe you should listen to them, but I will share my process anyway. This is wordy. Hold onto your houses, ladies and gents.

1. Replace the medicine cabinet with a larger mirror.  DIY Board & Batten Tutorial The tiny medicine cabinet mirror was driving me crazy. Way too small, and the little shelves inside weren't very useful anyway, so we pulled the medicine cabinet out of the wall, covered the giant hole with a piece of plywood, and hung a new mirror that I picked up at home goods over it.

2. Paint the top half of the room.  DIY Board & Batten Tutorial I think you could easily do this before or after the board and batten project. I had to touch up around the edges once I was done anyway, but it was nice having it painted once I finished the project. The color is Gibraltar by Sherwin Williams color matched to Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Satin for bathroom durability. We just used a quart, and it was just the right amount. Don't you love the rich navy? DIY Board & Batten Tutorial

3. Add the horizontal boards. 

We used 1x3" pine boards, and I learned a few very important lessons along the way.

1. 1 inch boards are actually only 3/4 of an inch in width. WHAT?? This ROCKED MY WORLD. And messed everything up. I measured for the room based on 1 inch boards fitting perfectly together, and then I had them pre-cut in store. Then I got the boards home and was too short. AH! I was able to exchange one uncut 6' board for an 8' board, re-cut everything, and finally end up with the correct measurements. In retrospect, I wish we had just cut the boards down at home to begin with instead of trying to get such specific measurements (Like 34.25", etc) in store. Lesson learned. 

In total, we used three 8' boards and one 6' board.

2. Make sure you let your wood acclimate to your house.  We let the boards sit somewhere between 3 days and a week in the house before we used them on the wall because they will expand and contract based on the atmosphere in your house.

3. Uneven walls can create problems.  Let me explain. After reading the Young House Love description, installing pine boards to the wall sounded like a cinch. Of course they had a pneumatic brad nailer (which we didn't have), but still, I felt confident that with some liquid nails (heavy duty glue) and some long skinny nails, we could make this happen pretty easily.

That was before I realized that the floor is very un-level and the walls are bowed. The floor is SO un-level in fact that from the left side of the room to the right side is a 2 inch difference!! Also, the wall is really wavy. Thank you, poorly finished basement in an old house.

I will save you the gory details, but after some tears and frustration and the boards falling off the wall like this... DIY Board & Batten Tutorial

I realized that I was going to have to use screws. I really wanted to stick to nails because they are so much easier to cover up, but I had to use screws into the studs on the wall. I chose some 2.5" drywall screws and some skinny wood screws. And with the help of a friend (Jeremy was out of town), and a lot of frustration with our electric screwdriver, I finally got them mounted. PTL. DIY Board & Batten Tutorial

Also, because the whole room is uneven, as I mentioned, I had to align the main back board with the vanity instead of being actually level. It's a mind trick, because it looks level, but this is what the level has to say about that. DIY Board & Batten Tutorial

Fooled ya.

So, in the end, we installed the boards by cutting pine boards to fit, leveling according to the vanity, and using screws into the studs of the wall approximately 3 feet from the baseboards (give or take 2 inches :-)). 

4. Install the vertical battens. 

As per the Young House Love suggestion, we used lattice boards from Home Depot. These are sold by the foot, and I got them cut to 3 feet in store. Sixteen total.

Here we run into the problem of the uneven floors again. And here is where I realized how uneven they really are. I had to cut over an inch off of some of the battens, and I had to ADD length to the battens on the other side. I just cut an extra amount to fit in the space, glued it on with liquid nails, and filled in the gap with spackle. DIY Board & Batten Tutorial DIY Board & Batten Tutorial

After measuring the correct lengths, I placed them 18 inches apart (just a personal preference thing), and taped them up onto the walls to hold into place. All of the studs aren't exactly symmetrical, so I wasn't able to mount each batten to a stud, so I used a combination of liquid nails and skinny nails to attach them to the wall.

Side note: John & Sherry at YHL used a board to double check their spacing as they went. I wish I had done that because one of the boards got off in the spacing and is a little bit wrong. I won't tell you which one; you may not even notice. But once you attach with liquid nails, it is nearly impossible to move without pulling off drywall. So be very certain of your spacing as you go! DIY Board & Batten Tutorial DIY Board & Batten Tutorial

If I was mounting to a stud, I didn't use any liquid nails, but on the other spots, I squirted a bit of liquid nails on the back and then used 3 nails each. No pneumatic nail gun = use a hammer. It took longer, but it was a lot cheaper than buying a nail gun for this project.

Once I got the battens mounted, I got really excited. The stress was over (did I mention the tears and frustration from this project), and it was really starting to come to life. Also, we had guests coming, so I cleaned up and left it this way for several days. DIY Board & Batten Tutorial

5. Fill the spaces. 

Next, I used some basic spackle to fill the nail holes on the battens and the screw holes on the boards as best as I could. I didn't get all of the screw holes filled perfectly. Any tips for making screws disappear into wood? DIY Board & Batten Tutorial

Then, I used some paintable painter's caulk along the top edge and around any of the battens that weren't flush with the wall. This is an important step to making the wood look level with the wall. Because of our uneven walls, this was really important, and I had some very large gaps to fill in certain spots. DIY Board & Batten Tutorial

5. Prime & Paint

This part is pretty self explanatory. I used a foam roller and a hand held brush for cutting in around the edges. 2 coats of Zinnser 1-2-3 stain blocking primer, and 2 coats of White Dove by Benjamin Moore.

I love the warmth of White Dove, and I already had the paint from painting the spare room in the basement but it doesn't match the baseboards exactly...which is something I didn't think about at first. I may go back and paint the baseboards and the door/door frame. I haven't decided.

Finally, I touched up with the blue around the edges of the boards, and voila! I'm so pleased with the result. It is exactly what I wanted.

After some serious blood, sweat, and tears (Did I mention I stepped on a massive glass splinter in the process that was stuck in my foot and caused intermittent bleeding for a full week. That's where the blood comes in), I have come away with a bathroom makeover that makes a serious statement and is the start of bringing our basement from boring to awesome.

And here is a final little before and after...  photo bathroom2_zps666fc83d.jpg


Next, I need to add some more storage and accessorize! For now, I will just enjoy this little basement oasis.


This Little (Inexpensive) Light Of Mine...

You may have the same problem I have. Boob lights.

You know the ones. These.  photo ceilinglight2_zps3dcec9e6.jpg

That is the official DIY blogger term for these simple flushmount lights that are so popular with builders and budget renovations. I get it, they are cheap and they get the job done. But they are so not awesome. And I like awesome more than not awesome. And I light my light fixtures not to resemble awkward anatomy.

So I fixed the boob lights in our bedroom and hallway...for less than $15 a pop. There are two ways to do this, so let me share.  photo ceilinglight13_zps078fefd8.jpg

I purchased two drum lamp shades at home goods on clearance for $12 a piece (originally $14 & $16, so even without the sale they won't break the bank). One is a cool white and the other is called "gray" but it is really "greige." It is important for converting a boob light to a flushmount drum light that the shade be a spider shade. That means it has the rods that criss cross across the top of the drum.  photo ceilinglight3_zps13e21e16.jpg

Option 1: Just screw it.

For our bedroom, I decided a filter wasn't really necessary, so I went the easy route. I removed the glass on the light, just like I would if I were going to change the light bulb.  photo ceilinglight10_zps5f4563d4.jpg

You should have a little nut that was threaded onto the metal pole, holding up the glass.  photo ceilinglight14_zpsbed6e07e.jpg

All I did was screw the shade onto the pole with the nut (too many awkward words).

That is all there is to it. The threading on the metal went all the way up, so I just tightened it until the shade sat right below the light bulbs. If you look underneath, you can see the bulbs, but with the layout of this room specifically. it isn't noticeable, and l like the grayish color inside the shade shining through.  photo ceilinglight4_zpsa55c9e89.jpg

Total cost: Shade: $12  photo ceilinglight5_zpsfa49bcaa.jpg

So many projects in the works for our bedroom!  Those Euro shams and gold link pillow are new. Stay tuned!

Option 2: Put a filter on it.

If you want a little bit more finished look, it's easy peasy and doesn't add much cost.

For the hallway, I purchased half a yard of white muslin fabric for less than $2 at Joann Fabrics, and a roll of piping (or ribbon that looks like piping.)

First, iron the fabric and cut it slightly larger than the circumference of the bottom of the shade.  photo ceilinglight7_zps1e2dcfe6.jpg

Then, use some Craft Glue and line the rim of the shade.

Then lay the fabric on top and pull tight. The fewer wrinkles the better. Let it set for a few minutes to let the glue dry.  photo ceilinglight8_zpsa0462a4b.jpg

Next, pull down the edges and glue the piping/ribbon down for a finished look. I had to cut around the edges a little more so that the fabric could hide behind the ribbon.  photo ceilinglight9_zps776143ec.jpg

Tip: line up the start of the ribbon with the part of the shade that fold on top of each other.

Some shades already have piping when you purchase them, in which case you could easily just remove the existing piping and then reapply.

Finally, to get the shade onto the light fixture, you will need to attach the little nut that came from the fixture to the hole in the "spider" part of the shade with a sturdy glue that will bond metals (like heavy duty super glue).

I just flipped the shade upside down and glued them together (you want the nut to be below the shade so that the shade rests on top).  photo ceilinglight15_zps55be2715.jpg

Let it set for a few minutes, and then screw that shade onto the pole (you will probably have to twist several dozen times to get it up far enough.)

To change the bulbs, I plan on just lowering it a bit and changing them from above.  photo ceilinglight11_zps766e7b26.jpg

Total cost: $15 Shade: $12 Fabric: $2 Ribbon: $3

For comparison, here is a ceiling light from Lowe's next to my creation.  photo ceilinglight1_zpse8574879.jpg

Pretty simple, huh? I would love to be able to exchange every boob light for a beautiful, unique creation like the one in the office, but this simple fix is a major update on a dime, and I am happy with that!  photo ceilinglight13_zps078fefd8.jpg

What do you think?


FREE DIY Coffee Table Tray

The box that I have kept on our coffee table until now recently broke. The nails came out and it just started falling apart, so it was time for a new coffee table set up. I already had a pretty silver bowl with pearl inlay that we got as a wedding gift, but it seemed like it needed something a tray. But, I have such a long list of things to buy for our house right now that I didn't want to spend money on a tray, so I found a long rectangular photo frame that I hadn't hung since we moved  here, some leftover fabric from my recent bench reupholstery, and some white paint that I keep on hand for times such as this. So for $0.00, I got a really pretty tray that adds some fun life to the coffee table.FREE DIY Coffee Table Tray

This tutorial is so simple it almost isn't necessary, but perhaps you will be inspired to try this project at home with a thrifted or un-used frame. This would be adorable on a night stand, a dresser, a kitchen counter, or anywhere where you want a little more pizzazz on a small display.

I started with this photo frame. I simply removed the glass and existing photos and painted the frame white. I actually spray painted it first, but I didn't like the texture, so I went over the spray paint with a brush and some white paint. FREE DIY Coffee Table Tray

Then I ironed the fabric and taped it around the existing mat in the frame. You could also use a piece of cardboard if your frame doesn't come with a mat. FREE DIY Coffee Table Tray

And that is all there is to it. But, what a transformation, right? I styled it with some simple baby's breath in a mason jar, my flea market iron horse Charlie (get it, Charlie Horse?), and this silver bowl filled with decorative balls. (Maybe I should use the word globes? I still feel awkward about decorative I'm in middle school). I picked up a whole box of those pretty moss and neutral globes for $4 at a yard sale last weekend. That isn't even half of them!

FREE DIY Coffee Table Tray

Sometimes making simple updates will encourage you that you are making progress in your home and inspire you to tackle the big stuff. Some bigger stuff in our bedroom is in stay tuned! FREE DIY Coffee Table Tray


Aged Gold Terra Cotta Pot

Monday of this week, we had our first (and probably last) ice/snow day of the winter that kept me home from work all day. It was the perfect time for some much needed R&R, and when I drove to work the next day with the view of the frosted trees on the Tennessee hills, I felt like I might be saying goodbye to Old Man Winter for the season. The temps are creeping up into the 50s and 60s, and it looks like they just might stay there. After my answered prayer of just one "snow" day, I'm ready to bid adieu to the cold and hello to springtime. Spring is definitely starting to bud, and I am so excited about plants. Flowers, ferns, bushes, trees. Bring on the green, God. We are ready.

So as I scoured my brain for a good weekend/snow day craft using stuff I had around the house, I decided to welcome Spring by painting a spare Terra Cotta pot. The process was so simple and cheap, and I already love the vintage, worn look of the aged gold and white.

This was done in just a few simple steps.

1. Clean the pot with warm soapy water. Pots hold plants, and plants live in dirt. And dirt is...well...dirty. So your pot is probably dirty. Give it a quick good scrub. Unless it is new. Then you can still scrub if you want...but you may not have to.  photo pot2_zps7fa53d54.jpg

2. Sand. Like the sandpaper sand. Not the dirty kind of sand. Although sanding is dirty. But not like the dirt from the flower.  photo pot3_zpsc63f655e.jpg

I used 150 grit and gave it a nice rub to rough it up and help the paint stick.

3. White wash. I used a roughly 50/50 solution of water and white paint that I had sitting in the garage. Here is another tutorial on white washing. I just brushed on the paint with a sponge brush...all in the same direction. After this step, it will probably look a little streaky. That is totally fine.  photo pot5_zpsb034a5aa.jpg

4. Sand again. This will give it the aged look. I debated leaving it like this, but opted to move onto step #5.  photo pot6_zpse34bba7a.jpg

5. Gold Glaze. I used the Martha Stewart Glaze from Home Depot. This sheer gold was the perfect overlay for the white washing. Two coats gave it a shimmer that mixes modern with vintage. Lovely. I also left the white rim up top for a two-toned effect.  photo pot1_zps6e4d9e05.jpg

Voila! I can't wait to find a fern or some other houseplant to put inside. Crossing my fingers I can keep it alive.

Are you doing any springtime crafts lately?


State of the Household Address

I spend a lot of time talking about the projects I complete...right after I complete them when they are all shiny and new. Over time, things wear off, so I figured I would share with you how some of my top viewed projects are holding up. 1. Stained & Painted Laminate TV Stand - Grade = A-

This is by far my most viewed post ever. People ask often how the "stained" laminate top is holding up. The answer: very well. Over all, the whole piece is in very much the same condition as it was when I posted about it nearly a year ago. There is a small amount of wear on the top, but it isn't noticeable unless you look close. State of the Household 1

I would not recommend using this technique on a surface that gets a lot of heavy use like a kitchen table or dresser drawers. It works great on a TV stand because most things on top are stationery, but I could see how it could possibly wear off with more heavy use.

The paint on the laminate has stayed strong! Overall, I give this project an A+ on staying power! Gallery Wall -  All Precious & Pleasant

2. Plate Wall - Grade = A+

This is the other post that is searched for daily. I hung the plates without plate hangers, and they have held up really well. We haven't had any issues with them falling off the wall or anything! I still love the way they liven up that corner. State of the Household

3. Revere Pewter Walls - Grade = A+

Many of you were interested in how we chose our paint color in the main living space of the house. It was a tough call, but we finally chose Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore, and I haven't regretted it for a second.

I love the way it's cool in the day and warmer in the evening light. It is a great neutral backdrop, and we have since used it in our office, hallway and basement stairwell. State of the Household

4. Banquette - Grade = A+/C

The kitchen nook was one of the first things we tackled when we moved into the house. My, how much I have learned since then. Luckily, my father-in-law was the mastermind behind this one, so the structure of the banquette has held up beautifully. It is just as functional as we had hoped. I LOVE the way it makes use of the small dining space we have. It is one of my favorite things in the house! State of the Household

I was in charge of the paint job, and it is obvious. In my novice hands, it looked great at first, but I would do things a little differently now. I used wood filler instead of caulk along the edge, and I didn't seal the paint with polycrilic. This is the part of the project that gets a "C"

It is starting to wear if you look up close, and I will soon be painting another coat, sealing it, and replacing the wood filler with caulk. State of the Household

5. Sprayed Frosted Bathroom Window - Grade = B-

I tried using spray paint to frost our bathroom window, and overall I would give the process a B- in light of the cost and ease. The left window looks just like it did when we did it, but the right side window has a few chips. I think with another coat of spray paint, it would fix it. I would say it has held up decently in light of being in a spot where it gets wet daily.  photo Updates5-FrostedGlass_zpsef7d77ce.jpg  photo Updates5-FrostedGlass2_zps10e40ec4.jpg

I may not use this method on a really prominent window, but it is just fine for a shower window.

6. Floating Console Table - Grade = A+

This Pinterest challenge is one of my favorite projects ever. It is a huge asset to our living room, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. There isn't much to say except it rocks my socks.  photo Updates3-ConsoleTable_zps1368b2b3.jpg

7. Jute Rug - Grade = A 

We went back on forth on what rug we wanted for the living room. I was afraid jute would not wear well and would shed everywhere. We finally decided on a jute rug from Natural Area Rugs, and I could not be happier. We don't even have a rug pad underneath, and the rubber backing has kept it from sliding on the floors and held the fibers in nicely. No shedding here! It hides dirt well, always looks great, and the texture is exactly what I wanted.

There have been a few frays, and that is the only reason this didn't get an "A+"  photo Updates7-rug2_zps94b8161d.jpg

Thanks for keeping up with all of my projects! A new projects page is coming soon to make checking out all the projects even easier!