Our Second Nest

In the summer of 2009, Anthony got a job as a Director of Religious Education.  So, we employed our "do-it-yourself" skills and moved ourselves to Alabama in a Budget rental truck.  The whole 16 hour trip I was nervous wreck thinking I was hearing stuff crash in the back of the truck.  Every bump we went over was agony.  But to my surprise, we arrived and unpacked finding not one thing broken!  We bought a cute house in a cute neighborhood and are currently working on making her "pretty".  Of course we're doing everything ourselves again and trying very hard to please our bank account!
So far, we've painted the walls in every single room, pretty much every piece of cabinetry, and every single door too.  Also, all of the trim in our house was cream and we prefer the clean look of white so white it's all become!  Annnddd, to feed our love for painting, we adventurously painted the entire exterior of our house all by our lonesomes in the spring of 2010.  
Our house will probably never carry the label "done" as we love DIY and are always inspired to change things here and there (not to mention that as long as Goodwill is in business, our house will be ever the chameleon) but that's how we like it and we hope you do too! 

Front porch:

A porch was on the top of our wish list when it came to buying a house down here and we love ours!  After curb-spotting and painting some wicker furniture, making fun pillows, and adding plants, we had a cozy little space goin' on.

 After snagging a great deal on some bamboo chairs at Goodwill though, we sold those wicker pieces and perched the new (to us) chairs on the porch.  They aren't all going to stay there though and they're all on the belt for some new upholstery (think stripes).  Plans are in the works.  I also swapped out the plastic hanging basket for a metal one.  Maybe someday we'll paint the ceiling and add a fun rug or just paint one on the concrete.  

Oh, and we went bold and painted our previously navy front door a bright orange-red (Red Hot by Behr).
Adding a thrifted planter, a natural fiber rug (Old Time Pottery), and hanging a homemade tulip wreath helped us stamp this little spot with 'inviting'.

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I'm sure the nasty southern humidity I've come to love (nature's lotion) and hate (curly hair + humidity = lightning struck) is slowly leaking through your screen so we'll move along inside.

This is a few months after we move in.  We slapped a couple of gifted wall decorations up, a clearanced bamboo shade, and laid down an old rug.  Things were looking veryveryvery brown and, might I add, boring?

More progress:
We added function with a hook system, punched up the volume with a thrifted mirror and a stenciled rug, whipped up a new, wider roman shade made from a mini-blind, and hung a chandelier we made from iron hanging baskets.

Even more progress:
Then we added some paper mache word art above the hooks, painted the door the same bright orange-red as its opposite side, went white and bright with the walls, and hung a bright oil painting done by a good friend next to the door.   

The living room:
Right after moving, we had saved up enough money to replace our hand-me-down couch with a new minty-blue/green sectional.  We found it at a furniture store that was going out of business and got a great deal on it but little did we know that a few minutes after we left, our car would break down and end up costing us exactly as much as we just paid for our "final sale" couch.  God loves to throw us curve balls sometimes and it's just one of those things we can laugh at now.  :)

Painting the walls (Hopsack by Valspar), brightening the trim with with white paint and the hutch with a creamy white (Cream in my Coffee by Valspar), craigslisting the red rugs and scoring a new 5 x 8 for $35, a little decor here and there, recovering the lamp shades with burlap, and flanking the french doors with curtains brought us here:

And after a few more tweaks - a new rug, white paint on the walls, and some artwork - we're here:

The rug was a super deal we found (like $70 super before we sold our old one and recouped most of that) and it's like the softest thing ever.  We moved furniture around to achieve a little more function and gussied up the new toy corner with some art, including our little paint chip family.  I also went to town inside the hutch, sewed up some new pillow covers, painted and hung some mirrors, and turned a thrifted coffee table into a tufted ottoman (and then later recovered it again).

The biggest update so far has been the mantel, a DIY build.
And we're still in love with the shelves and brackets we put in.  Also, there's a modem and router hidden in there somewhere.  Maybe someday we'll get around to reupholstering those two, cranberry chairs and filling up what empty wall space there is.

The kitchen:

Using leftover brown paint (Cabin Plank by Valspar) from our first home's bathroom, we slapped a couple of coats onto the cabinets a few months after moving in, painted the walls cream, and the trim bright white.  We also saved up and bought stainless steel appliances after the appliances that came with the house went caput on us.  

But, we didn't stop there.  The dark cabinetry was fun while it lasted but we soon realized how much light it sucked out of the room.  So, when the twins were five months in utero, we got back on the DIY train and repainted the cabinets, finally hung up the over-the-range microwave, ripped out the decorative wood trim above the sink and replaced the over-the-sink florescent light with a pendant, got much needed new countertops installed along with a new sink and faucet, slapped up a white subway tile backsplash, and painted the far wall - all for just under $1150.  Later, we finally got around to replacing the big 'ole florescent light with a chandelier + shade combo.   
  Hopefully someday we'll add a french door to the laundry room (it's in progress!) and do something to disguise the stark black side of the fridge.  Also on our to-do list for 2017 is to save up to knock out part of the wall that you see on the right so that the kitchen is a little more open to the living room.

The laundry room:
 You can see the laundry room 'before' if you scroll up a few pictures and look in from the kitchen.  We were washer and dryer-less after our move so after all the typical research upon research we do before buying big ticket items like those, we settled on a pair of Frigidaire's and love them!  We also painted the laminate cabinets white, the walls the same cream as in the kitchen and the trim and door a bright white, added an easy, DIY, plywood counter top, and topped things off with a thrifted chandelier we updated.

Maybe someday we'll finally get around to adding some more flavor to that back wall with wallpaper or a stencil and finding a rug with a tad more character.

The dining room/nook:
This is before we moved in.  We weren't crazy about the colors and wanted something a little lighter.  We also didn't like the fact that we had a candle-burning chandelier...we like electricity and being able to see what we're eating!

So, after continuing the cream paint color in from the kitchen, painting subtle stripes below the chair rail using the same paint color in semi-gloss and eggshell sheens, reupholstering our dining room chairs with some fun geometric fabric, installing a 'real' chandelier, throwing up a collageDIYing some valances, and adding a few kids into the mix, the nook now looks a lika dis:

The master bedroom:

So far we've painted the walls a light, airy blue (Heaven on Earth by Benjamin Moore - color matched to low VOC Olympic paint) and painted the trim and doors a bright white.  Also, I whipped up and stenciled some geometric throw pillows, diy-ed a sunburst mirror, and made new curtains out of white flat sheets.  Hiding under our bed is a thrifted coffee table waiting to be transformed into a bench to be placed at the foot of the bed along with a couple of shower curtains waiting to be made into faux roman shades to be layered under the curtains.  Maybe someday we'll DIY an upholstered headboard, DIY a slipcover for the chair in the corner, add a rug or two (faux sheepskin?), spice up the ceiling fan, get some decor up on the walls, etc... 

The master bathroom:

We've gotten here by re-tiling the floors, stenciling a wall, making a fake roman shade, and painting the cabinets and laminate countertops.  Maybe someday we'll add some more flavor to the side walls with shelves, pictures, or whatever Goodwill has to offer, bulk up the massive expanse of countertop space with trinkets, etc...

So, down the one and only hallway we go...

in which the walls, trim, and doors were painted, a couple of gallery walls joined the fam, the existing light was updated, and the doorbell chime was painted to blend in.
Maybe someday we'll add a colorful runner to punch up the excitement, repaint all the doors a contrasting color (charcoal?), and swap out the old, weary carpet for something better.

The guest room:

With the addition of the twins to this fam, we've recently made it our guest room/office space.  It's gotten all the way to looking like it does thanks to a fresh coat of paint on the walls and trim, making curtains on the cheap along with a faux roman shade, dressing up the bed with a duvet cover found at TJ Maxx on sale for $20, putting up a $2 makeshift headboard (yard sale find) and later spray painting it white, making decorative pillows to adorn the bed, bringing in a free club chair (which just happens to match pretty darn well), transforming some thrifted lamps and shades, and priming (have yet to paint) the desk we already had.  So far, we've only spent about 60 beans to get from 'before' to it's current look.  Happy, happy bank account!  
Maybe someday we'll get around to adorning the walls with decor, bringing in a rug (or two), DIYing a slipcover for the club chair, etc...

Guest/Kids' Bathroom:

Shortly after moving in, we painted the walls and trim along with the cabinets and those dated spindles and replaced the cabinet hardware to get us here:

Then we had kids and they claimed it as their own.

You can see what our plans are for it here.  So far, we've added a thrifted frame and yard sale watercolor and some letter hooks to make it more kid-friendly.  Maybe someday we'll transform the laminate countertop with paint (faux white marble?) or diy a new concrete top, replace the dated sink and faucet, either frame out the ginormous mirror or just replace it, tile the floors (with the tile we've already purchased for that exact reason), demo the spindles and maybe the half wall, etc...

Guest room #2 Twin Nursery:
Until we found out we were expecting twins, this was our guest bedroom/office combo.

A mini-transformation involving spray painting the filing cabinet, sewing some curtains using a flat sheet, embellishing a torn lamp shade, and whipping up a cute pillow got us this far:

And then the twins came along and we went completely girl, transforming it into a nursery fit for two (see our plans here).  We painted stripes on the walls, DIYed some flowy curtains, painted a greek key design on the window seat, injected some daily inspiration in the form of an antique mirror with a homemade printable, updated some Goodwill lamps and their shades, skewered the mirror above the cribsmonogrammed framed glass as art, hung and filled a collage wall above the dresser which was painted and then updated with spray-painted hardware, DIYed a changing pad cover, and gussied up the fan with a lamp shade.

But eventually they got an eviction notice with Sebastian's arrival and the room went all boy.

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Thanks for stopping by and checking out our digs!  Living on a tight budget has made home improvement and decorating a fun challenge!  Come back soon as things are always bound to be tweaked, touched-up, or just completely redone!  :)


  1. Love the new house~
    We can't wait to see it in person.
    Love you both~
    God bless you both, Mom, Dad and Leeshie +

  2. You are too cute! I love your posts! lol! And I might add, your kitchen looks WAY better now. Brown was a really good idea. It just made your kitchen look so rich! Congratulations on your new home! xoxoxo
    Megan Heitman

  3. Sheena! Everything looks like it's straight out of a magazine especially with all those pretty flowers all over the place and everything! You're so awesome, I don't know how you do it! Love you!

  4. Painting a file cabinet this weekend! Or I might get brave and make the front pretty with wallpaper...thanks for the idea!

  5. Awesome Sarah! Wallpaper on the front sounds so cute! I'd love to see before and after pictures! Have fun!

  6. ok my mouth is WIDE OPEN over your kitchen cabinets! i want to paint mine now!!!! :)

  7. HI! Just found your feature over at Deme's blog :) I Love your blog and I can't wait to follow along! You have a beautiful home and family. I would love for you to join in my design in your home link-up. I feature my favorites each month!


    XO Samantha

  8. LOVE this! can't wait to get our first place and DIY the shiz out of that place!

    xo Martina


  9. Your home is beautiful. I love all of the special touches that have made it a home. I wish I were handy with a sewing machine... how on earth do you find time for sewing? lol!


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