Our Second Nest

In the summer of 2009, Anthony got a job as a Director of Religious Education.  So, we moved ourselves down south to Alabama and into this pretty little cottage.  It didn't need much in the way of major remodels but we tweaked just about everything cosmetically.  We painted the walls in every single room, pretty much every piece of cabinetry, and every single door too.  Also, all of the trim in the house was a beigy-cream but we preferred white so that all got a couple of coats as well.  In 2010, we adventurously painted the entire exterior of our house a cooler, more muted shade of green.  
With our growing family and desire to get shorten the distance to/from Anthony's work, we sold our little cottage in 2017 in three days and moved on to new diy adventures...still documenting as we go, of course.  :) 

Front porch:

A porch was on the top of our wish list when it came to buying a house down here and we loved ours!  After a much-needed paint job, 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.  We also swapped out the plastic hanging basket for a metal one. 

Eventually, we got around to reupholstering those bamboo chairs with something a little bolder and added a secondhand table to the mix.

Adding a thrifted planter, a natural fiber rug (from Old Time Pottery), and hanging a homemade tulip wreath helped us feel like we really got the potential out of our coveted porch.

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

The above was taken a few months after we moved in.  We slapped a couple of wall decorations up, a clearanced bamboo shade, and laid down an old rug.  Things were looking veryveryvery brown and, might I add, very 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.  :)

The first thing we did was change the wall color (Hopsack by Valspar) and paint all that trim white.

After that, we painted the hutch a creamy white (Cream in my Coffee by Valspar), swapped out the red rugs with some that coordinated a little better, recovered the lamp shades with burlap, and flanked the french doors with curtains.

A few more tweaks later - a new rug, white paint on the walls, and some artwork - got us 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.  We 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.  Psst...there's also a modem and router hidden in there somewhere.

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.   

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 Frigidaires and love them (still do in 2018)!  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.

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, we were here:

The master bedroom:

Progress was painting the walls a light, airy blue (Heaven on Earth by Benjamin Moore - color matched to low VOC Olympic paint) and painting the trim and doors a bright white.  Also, I whipped up and stenciled some geometric throw pillowsdiy-ed a sunburst mirror, and made new curtains out of white flat sheets.  

Later we made an upholstered headboard, scored a plush rug for $20 (from Dirt Cheap and when we got it, it was diiiirty), spiced up the ceiling fan, snuck some faux roman shades in under the curtains, made new pillow covers, and got some decor up on the walls. 

The master bathroom:

Then we spruced up and added new geometric mirrors, put in new cabinet hardware, spray painted the existing light fixtures an oil-rubbed bronze, and broke up the massive countertop with a mirror and trinkets. 

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.

The guest room:

With the addition of the twins to this fam, we made it our guest room/office space.  We put up a fresh coat of paint on the walls and trim, made curtains on the cheap along with a faux roman shade, dressed up the bed with a duvet cover found at TJ Maxx on sale for $20, put up a $2 makeshift headboard (yard sale find) that we spray painted white, made decorative pillows to adorn the bed, brought in a free club chair, transformed some thrifted lamps and shades, and primed the desk for a future paint job.  That little reform cost us about 60 beans.  Happy, happy bank account!  

Then Sebastian was born and the twins were eventually kicked out of their nursery into this room.  To make it theirs, we stenciled an accent wall, diy-ed a play kitchen, added a rug for aesthetic purposes only (my fave thing to do to spice up boring carpet), gussied up the ceiling fan, threw up some big 'ole initials, and then went headstrong into getting them into "big girl beds".  That was fun.

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.

And we had plans for this space.  We added a thrifted frame and yard sale watercolor and some letter hooks to make it more kid-friendly.  Later, we got rid of that half wall, tiled the floors, added legs to the vanity, and knocked off a West Elm rug.

Guest room #2 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 drum shade.

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

That's it inside!  Let's step out to the screened-in porch we added to the house in the fall of 2015! 

We hired a company to come in and turn our back patio...

into an outdoor haven where we could spend days and nights outside without the threat of mosquitoes.

We didn't get very far into decorating it before we sold the house but we did stencil the floors and add some secondhand furniture (which we still have and hope to reupholster soon-ish!)

A few months before we moved, we also spent lots of time and energy (and a good bit of $$...eep!) laying sod to turn what was once pretty drab...

into something lush.

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That's the tour!  Living on a tight budget made home improvement and decorating a fun challenge!  Onto the next!  


  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!