Well, Arch You Cute

 A few months ago, I squeezed a little makeover in in the girls' room.  The twins share a room now (the youngest two moved out into this cute room) and I really wanted to make it more "them".  They're not toddlers or little girls anymore and they get closer to being bonified big girls everyday...ok, they are big girls - major denial over here...and so I wanted to make their room something cute and happy and whimsical and all those fun words.

We started with the rug that was already in there and the blank white walls, added some bold velvet curtains, and some pattern to the dresser, and then I took a page from Mandi's book and painted some arches on their walls.  Initially, I was going to go more bold and paint hearts all over their walls (just like the diamonds I painted in the kids old shared room) but they really, really wanted arches over hearts.  Ok girls, it's your room.  Arches it is.

How To Make a Rug Stay In Place

Rollin' in here quick with a spotty internet connection to tell you a little bit about a rug and how it was driving me nuts.

Last year, when I did a quick little makeover on the kids' bathroom, I laid down this rug* to top everything off.

Still love, love, love the rug but don't love, love, love how much it slid around.

Save My Seat

 Or, rather, seatS.  From my kids.  And maybe from myself too.  

We bought these chairs* several years ago when I was going through a big mid-century phase (haven't quite grown out of that one yet because it's a w e s o m e).  I found two of them at Dirt Cheap and two more on Amazon Warehouse - each pair a different color but at the time, I didn't mind because they were so cheap.  Sometimes logic leaves me when I see a good deal, what can I say?  So one pair had a gray upholstered seat and the other, an ivory seat.  The gray held up, the ivory?  With kids?  Chairs that we use every single day during meals?  Not so much.

We Just A-Door It

The craziest thing happened to us last year.  We made all these plans for the front of the house (read more about them here) and before we told a single person what they were, a friend texted to say they were getting a new front door, would we want their old one?

Not so unusual or crazy, right?  Except she also sent a photo of that door and immediately, I had to pinch myself and blink 39575 times to make sure I wasn't seeing anything unreal.  It was almost exactly like the door in our plans.  I mean, what are the chances?!

Heart-racing, I made Anthony drop everything and go over to measure to see if it would work and HUZZAH, it was the same size as our current front door (not so crazy since doors come in standard sizes).  He brought it home to his very excited wife, set it in our outdoor storage room, and...there it sat...for over a year.

We've never changed a front door so maybe that was part of why it sat for so long - intimidation - and probably it was also because we have four small children and lives way beyond swapping out doors but either way, we finally pulled that thing out two weekends ago and started the process of getting some more curb appeal up in here.

Sadly, in case you were wondering how to, I didn't take any pictures of how we replaced the old with the new nor am I going to take any of those pictures I didn't take and write up a tutorial because, like I said above, we've never done this before.  We went into it thinking it would probably be a project that seems easy but when you actually start it, it isn't at all and that's exactly what it ended up being.  It took us the majority of two consecutive Saturdays to hang our new door - take down the old, remove the hinges and knobs, run to Lowe's, route out new hinge spots on the new door, go back to Lowe's, rework the door jamb, run quick to Ace Hardware, put hinges on the new door, and finally, hold your breath and hope it all worked out as you hang the new door and hope to goodness it closes right!!!

Spoiler alert:  it did!

I'll show it to you in a second but to appreciate the new even more, let's backtrack to what the front of the house looked like when we moved in, courtesy of a realtor photo:

Screen Time

As the weather cools down (well, anywhere but down here in the still-steamy south) and fall is ushered in, it's really good to get in some good screen time.

But not those kinds of screens.  (Psst, you can read about all of our fave on-a-screen kids apps here though.)

I'm talking window screens.  Yep, let in allll the fresh air.

Our house only had a few of it's windows screens when we bought it and the ones we had weren't in the best condition.  We weren't bothered by it too much because we don't really like the look of full screens covering up our pretty windows (especially since we've put new crystal clear panes in most of them) but we both really like being able to open windows when the weather allows without letting bugs in.  

We toyed with idea of eventually making our own window screens for some of the windows but then we stumbled upon some adjustable window screens - brilliant!   

Built-Ins - Fake It 'Til You Make It

 Hey!  I wish I was sitting here typing up a big kitchen update but alas, I'm not.  I'll blame it on fully enjoying our summer and I'm not mad about it in the least.  Actually, the drier fall air and milder temps will serve us better anyway when it comes to painting cabinet doors outside so you could even say that our lack of kitchen progress this summer is a blessing in disguise, paving the road for efficiency later.  Orrrr maybe that's just wishful thinking...  ;)

Anyway, I'm not here to talk about what we haven't done but something we did do.  It was a little project that only took a few hours one lazy Saturday afternoon.  Not only was it quick but it also itched that scratch that not doing anything creative for a few weeks can create.

It all happened in the reading room (music room?  library?  study?  We're not sure what to call it.)  We've known for at least a year that we want to line the back wall with bookshelves atop cabinets but that's a back burner project as we focus on other things.  For awhile, we improvised with a built-in we moved in from the living room (when we removed the wall between that and the kitchen, this built-in had to be moved) and an old secondhand shelf but that left a bare corner that we just used to store stuff like the vent hood that had to go up in the kitchen.

Not very aesthetically pleasing.  But then time marched on and I found chairs, the vent hood went out and up, supplies were relocated, I moved  in a small bookshelf from the kids' room, and topped it all off with some DIY art in a thrifted frame (tutorial here).

(More) Kitchen Plans

Putting this post together makes me SO excited to get this kitchen started...errr, finished!  We're zooming in on it next!  It won't be a super quick slide into the finish line since we're doing everything ourselves but we're hoping we can get it all in by summer's end, hopefully sooner.  I went into a little bit of detail about how we planned to open it up in the past but that's done and now it's onto the finer details of cabinet colors, counter tops, and a new backsplash.  Here's a peak of what we've nailed down so far:

What I Didn't Get To In the Master Bedroom

I always make myself some pretty hefty to-do lists when it comes to making over a room, even if it's just a quick makeover.  I always try to put more on my list than what I can usually tackle, not so I can make myself feel like a failure when I don't get it all done (because I usually never do when it comes to a dedicated timeline with a deadline), but so I can at least plan with everything in my scope.  It's OK not to get it all done.  I'm ok with it.  Really.  I can't put my life on hold right now to stamp a room complete and it's ok.  But it's sure fun trying to get to that finish line.  Eventually, we'll get there, right?  Just give me a few years.  ;)

Anyway, one of those things on my to-do list for the master bedroom that I didn't quite get to is getting something on the big wall above our dresser.

(I would have also loved to get those windows out of the corner too.  They are replacements for various windows in the house that we are slowly working on swapping out.)

A Four-Legged Nightstand Makeover

These past couple of weeks it's been really great to focus solely on our master bedroom.  It wasn't looking too bad before but, like everything, a freshening up is a good thing.  Last week, with my gas tank almost empty forcing me to stay home because of the whole gas panic-buying craze, I got to cross several things off my "Master Bedroom" list.  Silver linings.  👍

One of those things was finally getting some legs onto our nightstands to raise them up to the same level as the bed, something we've been wanting to happen for years.

I bought two sets of these legs* months and months ago with this intention, started one day, felt like I had gotten in over my head with complications, and never went back...well, until last week.  A big splash of courage and determination came over me and I got 'er done.  Phew!

This project flowed directly from this project - when I added legs to an old dresser.  These nightstands were handed down to me by a friend in college who didn't want them anymore and I've always liked the look of them.  They're nice and simple so they've stood the test of time and trend.  I've had lots of plans floating around my noggin for them over the years including paint (which may still happen), adding mirrors to the insets of the drawers, adding texture to the insets of the drawers, new hardware (happened!), and dun, dun, dun...LEGS! 

It seems like an easy thing to do, right?  At least I thought so.  Turn them over and screw the legs in.  Flip 'em back and done.  


New Bedroom Curtains!

It seems I've caught a sort of spring decorating bug.  First it was the living room and now it's followed me into the master bedroom and I just can't stop.  

The master bedroom also happens to be the current "Let's Room Together!" challenge so there's lots in the way of motivation to change some things up.  I spent most of my free moments last week deep cleaning our bedroom - under the bed, baseboards, dressers, mirrors, etc...  All the while looking forward to the most fun part of the challenge for me - hanging new curtains.

It's not that our current ones were bad, on the contrary, I love them.  Love them so much I've stowed them away for another change of wind (usually if I'm not going to use something decor-wise, it gets sold).  I found them on Facebook marketplace last year and paid a whopping $20 for all four panels.  They're velvet and oh-so-luxe.  (Pssst, they're these curtains* but the dark taupey color of ours don't seem to be sold anymore.)

Rub 'N Buff Chandelier Makeover

I haven't been able to spend as much time as I wanted gussying up the dining room for the #letsroomtogether challenge because life has needed me elsewhere these past few weeks but I did get a couple of hours last week to knock out a fun project I've had planned for months.  The fun part - tackling this project meant I could finally try a new thing - Rub 'n Buff!  I bought my tube at Michael's with a 30% off coupon but you can find it on at most craft and sewing stores. 

Have you ever heard of it/used it?  I've read lots of posts where this stuff was the main character but I've never had anything to try it on...until last week.  And let me tell you, it's kind of amazing.  There are certain things I'll probably choose to use it on instead of my usual spray paint going forward.   

This time around?  It was our dining room chandelier.  Here's what that chandelier looked like the day we closed on this house:

Our Spring Living Room + An Easier Way to Hang Frames Straight & Level

I don't normally decorate with the seasons (besides Christmas) mainly because I don't want to store seasonal decor nor am I quick enough but I managed to do so in our living room this spring thanks to some springy fabric finds I made pillow covers out of.   Just changing those up made all the difference and was all I needed to do to go spring in here since our furniture can already pass for the season.  I ventured out of our norm and threw in a little bit of blush pink (I made those pillow covers out of this curtain panel* - it's semi-sheer so I layered it over the existing pillow cover) that nods to the abstract painting that's hanging in the breakfast nook.  You can't see it in the photo below but here it is up close and personal.  Just adding that pink really unifies this whole, big space. 


The kitchen in the background will hopefully soon look more like it belongs (paint!) and maybe even the fireplace (mortar!) but even still, I'm liking the fresh new view.

It looks especially fresh when you look back on what it was two years ago:

Half Bath, Half Done

It's the third (and last!) week of the current #letsroomtogether challenge and I've (slowly but surely) made some aesthetic progress on the half bath!  It's probably the room I'm most embarrassed about when we have visitors.  Everything else anyone sees is at least put together even if it is still outdated (I'm looking at you kitchen.)  But this room, it looks like it belongs in a house that's been slated for tear down.

Ok, so maybe that's a slight exaggeration but still, it's pretty bad.  You can't tell in pictures but paint has chipped off the walls in small pieces, leaving small areas of drywall exposed.  Why?  Because when we took the wallpaper off, it took off some of the paint behind it along with some of the walls texture.  I've sent lots of eye rolls back in time to whoever installed the wallpaper, believe me.  I don't know what they didn't do that they should have but something went wrong here.  Along with the chipped paint, there are small pieces of wallpaper still attached to the wall where the blue was painted over it, the cabinet is pretty roughed up, and then there's that awesome linoleum and outdated wood trim.  I bet it was a beaut back in the 80's but those days are long gone.  

But it's ok because we're finally moving past this ugly stage.  The first week, I started filling those places where the paint and texture came off, removed the rest of the wallpaper left near that bottom border where the blue paint starts, and filled the loads of nail and dry wall plug holes.  Then, I primed and painted the window and door trim.  (Oil-based Kilz primer + Valspar paint color-matched to Pure White by SW.) 

Throwing Shade

Or maybe it's Throwing Shades.  Or maybe even Setting Shades.  Yep, that's better.  But, keeping with the shade theme, this isn't about any sort of insult.  It's actually quite the opposite.  Let me explain.

During the breakfast nook weeks of #letsroomtogether, one of the things I really wanted to get done was swap out the chandelier.  It's probably original to the house (built in the 80's) and just isn't quite our style.  The plan always was to move the big drum shade we temporarily hung in the entry way to the breakfast nook but sometimes plans change and this plan did.

Here's the existing, outdated chandelier:

But, this is after I spray painted those socket covers gold to match.  I did what I do lots of times - got an idea, had to execute right away, and forgot to take a bonified "before" picture before I jumped in.  Luckily for you and me, it didn't really look that much different before.  Something had to be done with the socket covers though.  They were really worn, darkened, and warped (why I don't know...maybe the type of light bulbs once used?) at the top.  Not even a good scrub with some soap and a toothbrush made a difference.

Small Cabinet Makeover

Something I've had on my to-do list for a good long while now is to paint a small cabinet that's main function is to hold our Berkey water filter*.  The Berkey is awkwardly large as far as water filters go and if it weren't the best at filtering all the things, we'd probably ditch it for something smaller.  But, here we are with this big, chrome, bullet-looking thing in our kitchen. 

There isn't really a good place for it on our kitchen counter because it's so tall and takes up too much space so we kept hoping to find a small cabinet at just the right height that we could set on this small expanse of wall right beside the kitchen counter and obviously, found one.  

It was for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $10 and not only was it not the prettiest cabinet in the wide world, but the lady who sold it to me used it to store makeup and so it smells...like makeup.  It's a weird smell to have a cabinet giving off.  I knew the smell would eventually go away but that faux wood finish had to be dealt with.  Fast forward months and months when only this #letsroomtogether challenge could provide the motivation I needed to get this thing looking a little more like it fits in with it's surroundings.

DIY Abstract Landscape Art

I did a thing.  YouTube helped me, once again.  Specifically, Petra and her video on how to paint a colorful landscape helped me.  She's awesome, and she's German, and I'm mostly German.  So.  Awesome.  

You see, a while back I spent many moments scheming about what I could fill the blank wall in the breakfast nook with.  (Pssst, it's the #letsroomtogether space, hence why it's on the brain.)  For awhile, I was set on hanging a shelf up high and filling it with cascading plants.  That might still happen in the future but it happened that I had a big 'ole frame we hadn't hung yet and I've really been loving big art lately (a long lately).  So...

Whoop, up it went.  It stands out but it doesn't right?...obviously, because it's solid white.  I call it my "White Rabbit in a Snowstorm".  Ha!  I found the frame at a thrift store a few years ago which was framing a big foam board onto which is professionally glued, a big poster.  I stuck a poster of my own inside the frame but the foam board that came with the frame looked like this:

Guest Room + Home Office Combo

We've only ever lived in three bedroom houses.  Our first house was a 3/1 (with a fourth bedroom and second bathroom finished shortly before we sold and moved), along with our second, third, and fourth houses.  It's great when you're newlyweds because then you have two extra bedrooms (we had a guest room and an office...spoiled) but with four kids, three bedrooms fill up quick with no space left for anything else.

So, we were excited this house around to find something with another bedroom.  The fourth bedroom in this house affords us a guest bedroom, which is fantastic since the closest family members we have live seven hours away.  But, with the right situating and set up, it also affords us a home office - something I really wanted so that I could have a designated place to sew.

We got really lucky in finding furniture secondhand for this room - furniture that is multi-functional so that we can fairly easily switch from home office mode to guest bedroom mode.

Home Office Mode

Closet Shelving + A Makeover

The closet in our home office/guest room has always been a source of discontentment for me.  It's ultra long and narrow but only has a one door opening.  I don't mind the one door opening part and actually, I prefer it vs. double doors or bifold doors because it allows more wall space in the room it's attached to but it does make things a little more difficult storage-wise.  With a one door opening, it's a little harder to get back to the side recesses of the closet.  This room doesn't serve as anyone's bedroom (yet) so there aren't any clothes that need to be hung in the closet but if there were, we'd have to rethink it once again (probably going the route we did in this closet).  Currently, it's home to home decor we aren't using, craft supplies, gift wrapping supplies, pillows, and a few other random things.  Built as your typical closet with a long rod for hangers with a shelf atop it, it didn't allow me many options to store these things.  

When we moved in, we didn't have a place to put the co-sleeper we made years ago (tutorial here) so I thought it might be nice to have it in here to give us some shelving.  It fit so why not?  But, we soon learned that, because of how it was built, it didn't allow easy access to what we stored on it.  To get anything off the big shelves, I had to wheel it out (I stuck some casters on it before we put it inside this closet) and then wheel it back in...which also meant I had to move everything in it's way out first before wheeling.  If that sounds like pain in the booty it's because it was.  👎

Over time, things just got more and more disorganized in there because I didn't like to wheel out the co-sleeper shelves so I just started stacking things on top, shutting the door quick, and pretending it wasn't going all awry in there.


Out of sight, out of mind, right?

But then I rolled the dice and the home office became the Let's Room Together space for three weeks and I knew we had no choice but to open up the doors and tackle this closet.

It took us all three weeks working on it in our free time (which isn't abundant) but it looks and makes me feel 394857 times better.

Bleached Dressers - DIY

I'm really excited to tell you about this project!  It's a goodie but definitely not my normal "Hey!  Here's an easy peasy project anyone can do!" type of project.  It took a little more time and effort but it was so worth the end result.  Oh and hey, anyone really can do this, I didn't mean to sound deflating, just be prepared.  ;)

It all started with two of these little guys:

When we moved Seb and G over to their own room, separate from the twins, we needed a dresser (or two) to store their clothes in over in their new space.  I did my usual Facebook Marketplace/thrift store/resale group scours but came up short oodles of times...until I didn't.  I found these two small, matching dressers (the owners used them as nightstands but they're quite larger than your typical nightstand) for $20 each.  The only drawback was that I had to drive 45 minutes to grab them.  But, they're vintage, solid wood with some wood veneer, and in great working order so it was worth the car time.  Plus, they were perfect for what we needed them for.  His and hers.   

I could have just plopped them into the room as-is but that shiny yet worn dark stain and outdated hardware just wasn't my fave.  Painting was always an option and would have been a fairly easy update but then I came across this post on Within the Grove on how to strip and bleach wood furniture and I was SOLD.

I'll admit that there were more moments that I can count during this process that I wished I would've went down the painting route but I stuck with it, slowly but surely over the course of two weeks and golly gee whiz, they look much, much better.  👌 

Color Block Walls + Painted Curtains

I just love paint.  Don't you?  It's truly magnificent.   

It can pack a real punch for, really, not a whole lot of cash.  I leaned heavily on that fact when I made over the playroom-now-bedroom.  Solid walls are nice but, especially in a kids' room, adding a little more color on the walls ups the ante and makes things just a little more fun.

The walls in this room were painted right before listing by the previous owner (China White by Ben Moore) and it's really a great color (we've actually copied it to most of the rooms in our house so far and the exterior) but I wanted something a little more upbeat for S & G's new room.  I wasn't actually planning on painting this room when we first decided we were going to move them but then I thought, well, if we're going to be moving furniture around, we might as well paint.  Over-achiever, I know.  But it was worth the extra effort.  :)

The Process:

Before the walls got painted, I had to paint the trim (read our tips on that here).  The previous owner had also had them freshly painted but they had them painted a really shiny, ivory-beige color.  We painted the ceilings in here Pure White (Sherwin-Williams) back before we moved in and wanted to follow suit with the trim to make things cohesive.  The crown, door and window molding, and baseboards all got a that white treatment.  The chair rail isn't a favorite feature of ours and taking it down meant filling in holes and, since the top part of the wall is painted-over wallpaper (grrr...even though they did it semi-right by filling in seam gaps), there'd be a line where the painted-over paper met the chair rail that would also have to be hidden with some spackling.  So, while painting an entire room sounded fun, painting and having to fill in where the chair rail was didn't.  You can only be so much of an over-achiever.  Ha!  

Room Reveal - Playroom to Bedroom

I'm so behind here on the blog!  Three weeks ago we wrapped up another #letsroomtogether - a bedroom.  I mentioned in my last post that we were going to tackle Sebastian and Gianna's new room but at the point that I had written that, I had only just begun moving furniture around so we could paint.  And then we did and I posted some updates on Instagram (because it's just a little more convenient...I hate it) and Christmas came and yadda yadda and well, here we are, two weeks into another #letsroomtogether when I haven't even gotten to write about the one we left!  I'm knee deep into the office / guestroom at the moment but I'm going to back up because I've got a finished room on my hands and I hope you are here for it.  👊  It's cute, real cute.  ;)

 And so far, S & G are *still* loving it.  We thought maybe they'd miss the girls but as it turns out, they're together 24/7 anyway so just sleeping one wall over isn't really a big deal.

This room looked like this (a bad realtor photo) when we moved in (I know, you've seen it already but I just love pulling out the befores 35757 times...):