Before and After

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.

Then for about 2 years, we lived with the living room looking like this.

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!

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.

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).

Also, having this club chair instead of the smaller chairs is more functional for our everyday life.

We also recently switched out our kitchen chairs for some metal tub chairs.

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


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

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.

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

  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! 

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Our basement went from this 

  To this 

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  We created a cozy seating area in our existing carport...

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

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!

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I 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.

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Then we decided to construct a half wall in order to create more separation between the entrance and ceiling overhang (thanks, air ducts). Then we installed a light fixture, hung shiplap and let it sit for a few months.

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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! 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.

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

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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! Here is what it looks like from the basement staircase that leads up to the kitchen. And an evening shot with the light on...

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Mittens always wants in on the photo shoot.

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

Hagood Home Before & After!

I am so excited for this post! My very first "client" reveal! Some of my very dear friends, Mary & Philip Hagood, recently did a major overhaul on their cute condo, and they asked me to help with shopping, arranging, color choices, and overall design! As soon as they asked me, I enthusiastically agreed. That's a job I won't turn down! Back in February, Mary & Philips's home was flooded due to a malfunctioning drain pipe outside their condo. When they realized all the floors would need to be replaced, they took it as a prime opportunity to completely renovate the space and turn it into a place that would feel more like them!

I have to give major props to the Hagoods. I served as a consultant, but they have some seriously good style! Also, they endured some major headaches and setbacks in completing this project (just ask me about their painting contractors and I can tell you who NOT to hire). But ultimately, they made great design decisions and have a new space that they can enjoy! 

There are still a few finishing touches like pillows and a couple of art pieces that we are still hunting, but I'm proud to show you the dramatic before and after!

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This was after they already got rid of their big leather couch. And after some new paint on the cabinets and the walls, almost entirely new furniture, new light fixtures, new floors, and new accessories, here is the lovely AFTER... Amazing difference, right? It almost doesn't look like the same place!

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Their cute pup, Ron, wanted in on the glamour shots. He's the master of the house and a great model, so I had to agree. A few more details...

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I was so excited about this handmade farm table that I found for a steal at an antique store in Chattanooga (Knitting Mill Antiques). Also, light fixtures make SUCH a big difference.

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Philip MADE that Tennessee art! Isn't that amazing??

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One final before & after...

THANK YOU, Mary & Philip, for the joy of helping with your renovation! Here are some sources for you!

Living Room Paint color: Silver Strand by Sherwin Williams Couches: West Elm Coffee Table: Wayfair TV Stand: Wayfair TV Stand Baskets: Target Rug: Curtains: West Elm Distressed Mirror to the Right of the TV: Home Goods Metal Wall Baskets: Magnolia Home Table lamp: Target Dining Room Table: Knitting Mill Antiques in Chattanooga Cage Light: Shades of Light Chairs: Target Serving Tray: World Market Pitcher: World Market Artichoke Figurines: Target Table Runner: World Market Kitchen Pendant lights: Ferguson Lighting Gallery Industrial Shelving Unit: World Market Accessories: Target, World Market, Home Goods Barstools: Target


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

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Step 1: Remove All Cabinet drawers and doors from boxes 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.

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Step 3: Prime time 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.

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Step 4: Paint. 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.

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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. 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!

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Step 5: Hardware

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!

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A little reminder of "before" Ta da!

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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