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Bookcase Progress

17 Dec

The bookcase bases are in!


Originally we were planning on priming and painting each individual piece before the installation but at the last minute we decided against it. Since this is just the shell of the bookcases, only the insides and the counter need to be painted at this point, and that’s a fairly simple process in this state.

There are 4 individual cases along the wall. Each case is made up of 2 side pieces and 6 supports.


You can see that Steve added the supports in the front and back of the case in key spots. Each case is held together by a series of dowels, wood screws, and glue. I wish I had a picture of the assembly process, but it required 2 sets of  hands. Putting them all together was relatively simple but made somewhat complicated by walls that are not square.










Steve will anchor all 4 cases to the back wall and then to each other. This weekend he plans on adding trim to make them look like one unit. The trim will be added between each case above and below the counter, along the top, and along the bottom. Crown molding and base boards will be reinstalled on top of the trim leaving some reveal which I think will be a nice touch. We’ll be using preprimed boards for the trim so a final coat (or 2) of paint will be added once everything is in.

Painting is my job this week. I’m planning on 2 coats of primer and 2-3 coats of paint depending on coverage. I will leave the last coat for after the trim is installed. I got the first coat of primer on this evening 


The final steps will be to make doors for the space below the counter and to add shelves above.

In other news, we got the new light fixture installed in the dining room which I love! More pics soon when it (hopefully) isn’t such a wreck!


11 Dec

Steve and I are currently in the midst of our annual end of year push to complete projects in time for Christmas. Last year, it was the wainscoting and crown molding in the hallway. I’m crossing my fingers that next year it will be putting the finishing touches on our screened porch to sunroom conversion. This year however, it’s turning our dining room into an office and our formal living room into a dining room.

I mentioned it before, but we’re making the switch for several reasons. We need an office, a larger dining room would be nice, and we don’t have a need for a formal living room (the family room and eventual sunroon will make for plenty of seating areas). Steve has been drawing (and re-drawing) plans for his office for months. There are a ton of books in our house and not nearly enough storage, so building bookshelves in the office is a big priority. We looked into using the Ikea Billy bookcases and making them look built-in, but in the end Steve decided to build his own from scratch. Here’s a look at the plans he made in google sketch up. The bookcases will run against the entire back wall of the office.


And here’s a reminder of the dining room looked like pre-office conversion:



Before Steve got started building the bookshelves, we cleared out the old dining room and took out the base boards and crown molding on the back wall.


While Steve got started building the first of 4 shelves with his father last weekend, I painted the room. We went with Sherwin Williams Intellectual Gray.

Last night Steve dry fit the first shelf against the wall.



I am so impressed! This one will eventually be moved up against the left wall and the shelves will run wall to wall. He still needs to build cabinet doors for the bottom, a counter top above the base cabinet, and the actual shelves. Rinse and repeat 3 more times. I think we’ll get started priming and painting this week, and he’s hopeful to get the other 3 built this weekend. The cabinet doors and shelves may wait until after Christmas.

The existing seagrass rug that was in this room will stay. Steve will likely build a new desk. We picked up this cute little table from his grandmother’s house when she recently moved which will live here by the window. It needs a few repairs then I think we’ll give it a fresh coat of black paint.


I picked up this leather chair at goodwill years ago. I had no idea what I would do with it, but it was so cute and so cheap (maybe $20) that I couldn’t say no.


It’s in super rough shape and in desperate need of a new upholstery job. In the new year, I’m going to try to re-upholster it on my own. It will require taking it down to the frame and building it back up. Sounds scary, but I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading a lot of books, so I’m hoping it will work out. It will go in a corner of the office, and I think it will make the perfect reading chair.

We will use the office as an opportunity to finally frame and hang our diplomas, and we’ve got some other ideas for wall art. For now, the lantern light fixture will stay here as it’s too small for the new dining room. Steve would ultimately like something else in here. I think it looks great in the office and should stay, but if he finds something else I’ll probably move it to our bedroom.

Finally, I’m going to keep the brown and cream striped curtains in here. I actually already made another set and moved the existing set into the new dining room since there are two windows in there. For consistency sake, I decided I will make yet another set to hang back up in the office.

Moving into the new dining room, converting this room is taking much less work. Here’s where it stood a few months ago.


We had an electrician add an over head light since one didn’t exist before. We purchased this light last weekend at Home Depot to hang over the table (still need to actually hang it):


I also painted in here a couple of weeks ago using Benjamin Moore’s Coastal Fog.


I rolled out the herringbone seagrass rug that used to be in our family room and moved in our pedestal side table and head dining chairs. The lamp was another goodwill find years ago. It originally was filled with seashells. I emptied those out, rewired the lamp, and used rub and buff on the base to freshen it up. The mirror is from the guest room. This room will be wood heavy and I felt like the texture on this mirror would make the room feel a bit more casual.

These shots are from last weekend before I hung the curtains.


Once the curtains were hung the next morning, we emptied the old dining room into here which turned this room into pure chaos.





You may notice 2 dining tables in here. One is our existing table, and the other we got from Steve’s grandmother. The table was her mothers and is from the sixties. We love it. It has 2 leaves and can go from a 4-8 seater. This is exactly what I was looking for in a table to use in the eventual sunroom, so we’re saving it for in there (the idea of eating our casual meals at a table with some much family history makes me very happy). For now, it will probably be used as Steve’s desk until he builds one, and it will be use for extra seating at Christmas which is why it’s here.

Here’s my new Christmas Tree skirt basket! How optimistic to take it out amongst the mess! I got it on Cyber Monday from Terrain (now that I have it, I think it’s overpriced but I love it and I got free shipping so what can you do?).


On the back wall where the chairs are lined up, we will put yet another piece of furniture we received from Steve’s grandmother. Really, she gave us some great pieces, and there’s several more I haven’t shown yet. The caveat is that it needs a bit of work, but I’m hopeful that we’ll get most of that taken care of this weekend. Here’s a truly awful shot of it in the basement, but hopefully you can get an idea of what it looks like.


I’m going to re-hang my arrangement of silver platters that I had in the old dining room above it, and I’ll add my milk glass and green plates to the mix.

As well as some sconces! I purchased these from Ikea last week and spray painted them gold to tie into the ginger jar lamp on the other wall.


Those are the plans and progress as of now! Fortunately, I think we can knock out a lot of the remaining work this weekend (leaving just painting and installing the bookshelves left to do). Plus, we took the week of Christmas off so there will be time for finishing touches then.

This may be delusional, but I’m also hoping to decorate the inside of the house for Christmas this weekend. At the very least, I’d like to get a tree up! I’ll report back next week!

It’s a Christmas Miracle!

4 Dec

The entry way and hall are complete!

In the past year we’ve replaced all of the light fixtures, taken down the chair rail, added crown molding, added wainscoting, and painted, painted, painted to take the spaces from here:



To here:



Ahhhh. Much, much better.

Here are some close ups of the molding:




I love how it looks with the paneled doors.



I finally got a piece of glass cut for the top of the skirted table in the entryway.


I am in serious love with the entry way. Serious.



We even took the time to replace the old switches and outlets.



Odie The Cat can give you the gist of our home’s layout from this picture:


The partially opened door goes to the basement, and the opening that you can just barely see on the left (directly across from the table) in this picture is to our formal living room (that remains untouched), which opens to the dining room. Here’s a surprisingly blurry picture of the spaces.


Back to the entry, up ahead, you can see our family room which opens up to the kitchen:


In the kitchen, there’s a doorway to the right of the open shelving that leads to the dining room. So like a lot of traditional homes, the living space is essentially one big circle.

The bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage closets are all off of the long hallway. Here’s a super fancy picture of everything labeled:


There’s still a few things left to do in the hall. The attic door and stairs need to be replaced. It’s even more of an eyesore now.


See that sloppy coat of off-white trim paint? That covered every piece of trim in our house when we moved in. We’re very good trim painters these days.

We also need a runner rug for the hallway.


A 20 foot runner rug is hard to find. I knew it would have to be custom, and I assumed that having a piece of carpeting bound would be the way to go, but it’s turning out to be more expensive than I thought. Regular carpeting comes in 12 foot rolls, and since I need the rug to be 20 feet long, it creates a lot of waste that you still have to pay for (even if the rug is seamed in the middle). I’ve been to several carpeting stores and have been quoted anything between $500 and $1,700. Yikes. And way more than I was hoping to spend.

So this weekend I’m going to hunt for some carpet remnants. I’ve found a few places that will bind the remnant for you, but my dad has me convinced I can seam and bind a remnant on my own. Sounds crazy, but google and a couple of youtube videos have me believing this is a viable option. This sounds either really promising or like a total disaster, doesn’t it?

I also have a fun idea for the walls on the long hallway! More details on that, the runner, and some tips for DIYing wainscoting coming soon!

If anyone is interested, here’s some sources for the space:

Wall color: Sherwin Williams Pavestone

Entry Light: Pottery Barn Hundi Flush Mount

Hall Lights: From Lowes

Entry Rug: Pottery Barn Brandon Rug

Entry Table Fabric: Ikat Fretwork from Lewis and Sheron

In the Past 4 Days …

25 Nov

… I have painted, baked 2 pies and 1 casserole, celebrated Thanksgiving twice, painted some more, ran a half marathon, celebrated friends at an engagement party, and painted painted painted some more. And I think I’m underestimating how much I painted.

But, we’re thisclose to finishing the entry and hallway! Here’s where the space stands now:

Left to do:

2 more coats of paint on the inset panels

1 more coat of paint on the upper part of the walls

Touch up paint

Add back the quarter round

Clean, clean, clean

Take a nap

Pantry Redo

5 Oct

Redoing the pantry has been on my to do list since we moved in. It was in dire need of a new paint job, and the old shelves were thick with many coats of (most likely) lead paint.

The most offensive part of the pantry was probably the brown molding.

But the bare bulb fixture and dirty pull string were a close second.

So I painted the walls (stripes!) and the molding (white!), and had my in-home “electician” (husband!) install a proper light.

For shelves, we opted to stick with wood. I decided to stain them instead of painting them to avoid chipping/peeling paint. We bought 8 cheap-o pine boards for 4 shelves, and Steve attached 2 pieces per shelf to get the depth we needed for a functional pantry. After sanding them down, I applied 3 coats of Varathane’s Stain and Poly in Kona.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Next up was organization. A couple of years ago, I purchased these spice jar holders from Ikea (all credit for this idea goes here).

They’ve worked out very, very well and keep all the little spice jars from getting lost on the shelves. However, I have a ton of leftover spices from where I couldn’t fit all of the spice into the Ikea jar. I had been storing them in a plastic bag, but I decided old plastic bags don’t have a place in my new pantry. Not when I could use this opportunity to purchase a cute basket to corral them!

Along those lines, I decided to see what else I could consolidate into a basket. Since baking items always seemed to get lost in the old pantry, I decided to also purchase a basket to hold things like yeast packets, cupcake liners, extracts, food coloring, etc. I also bought a third to hold granola bars, sport nutrition (like clif bars or shot blocks), and sport drink powders.

I labeled them with these cute Martha Stewart tags.

To hold the rest of my baking items, I purchased several Slom jars from Ikea and added chalkboard labels (also from Martha Stewart).

As you can tell, the labels don’t lay completely flat since the jar curves. It’s not ideal, but it’s worked out okay so far. If it bugs me down the line or they start peeling off, I’ll figure out a better solution.

For my flours, I purchased 2 larger jars from Target.

I was sure to add the expiration date to the bottom left corner  because these things are known to live in my pantry well past their prime. I didn’t want to give up my ability to check their sell by date by throwing out the packaging.

Last Winter when we had a bunch of electrical work done, we had an outlet added in the pantry so we could eventually move the microwave in here (and open up our limited kitchen counter space).

I also added a couple of hooks to hold our shopping bags.

With all the organizational pieces in place, I loaded her up.

Thankfully, there was enough room leftover to also store our lesser used appliances, cake carrier, grilling tools, and other miscellaneous items. Things like olive oil, salt and pepper shakers, vinegars, and other regularly used cooking items live in a cabinet by the stove which has really helped cut down on the clutter too.

It’s gotten about 3 weeks of use now, and I’m happy to say it functions much better for us now. I had a bad habit of just buying things at the grocery store instead of looking through the pantry to see if we already had it. I think that’s how I ended up with a ridiculous number of yeast packets.

For anyone who’s interested, here’s a list of sources:

Paint: The lighter shade is Behr’s Eggshell Cream (leftover from the upper kitchen cabinets), and the darker shade is Benjamin Moore’s Baby Fawn (leftover from the master bedroom)

Light: White globe flush mount with pull chain

Pull Chain: Antique Brass Pull Chain

Stain: Varathane stain and poly in Kona

Spice Jars: From Ikea’s Rationell Variera line – they appear to be discontinued

Plastic Bag Holder: Also from Ikea’s Rationell Variera line

Baskets: From the Container Store, though they don’t appear to be on the website

Glass Jars: Ikea Slom

Labels: Martha Stewart for Staples

Quick Update

21 Aug

Hi Friends! I’m heading out of town for a few days to stay with my sister and her fam in their cute apartment in Brooklyn. Plans include excessive play time with my nephew, teaching him how to say “Auntie Kate”, eating big fat NYC bagels, hitting up the farmers market, and a long run in Prospect Park among other fun activities I can’t wait for.

I hate to leave this space blank for so long, so I thought I’d pop in with a small update on a few (of the many and endless) projects we’re in the middle of…

Like staining the dining table!

Here she is with two coats of stain on (we used Minwax’s Dark Walnut – mostly because we had it on hand). We’ll likely put on a couple more coats before we’re through.

And here’s a peek at the pantry I mentioned we’re working on.

Yes, stripes. Just like the coat closet. Nothing new here. I have a disease that requires all of my closets to match. You’ll be seeing these again in the linen closet too at some point. But then I’m done with the stripes. I sent a picture to my sister and she politely responded with “that’s a lot of work for a pantry.” Indeed.

Hope everyone has a good week!!

Master Bedroom Progress

13 Jun

While we’ve been working hard on the yard over the last month, I also found the energy to get started on our master bedroom. I guess once I get the momentum going, it’s hard to stop.

Here’s how our bedroom has looked for the past couple of years.

We purchased the bedroom set from Crate and Barrel over 5 years ago. I really loved it, and it was perfect for our apartment, but we needed more dresser space in our house due to less closet space. And of course the set was discontinued before we could purchase another dresser. So when we moved in, we purchased an Ikea cheapie to tide us over.

We had some nice bedding from Pottery Barn, and I found a rug that matched at Home Depot for a really reasonable price. I painted the walls to match and called it good enough.

Over the last year we started talking about upgrading to a king sized bed and moving this furniture to the guest room. Last month we decided to take the plunge and get a new mattress. Things kind of snowballed from there, and now there’s new paint on the walls, curtains and blinds on the windows, a larger rug, and as of this weekend, 2 new matching dressers!

Here’s the view from the door.

The paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Baby Fawn. The curtains are plain old white from Ikea (and desperately need to be hemmed), and the rug is Pottery Barn’s Chunky Wool and Natural Jute Rug – hands down the softest rug I have ever walked on.

Here’s our messy bed without proper bedding, and a peek at one of the new dressers.

This weekend we went to Scott’s Antique Market and purchased the new dressers. I’ve been searching high and low for new ones for months. Everything I found was either too expensive or too formal or not right. I never imagined we would be able to find a matching set of vintage dressers, but that’s just what we found at Scott’s.

Here’s a closer look. Odie The Cat will show you:

The best part? We got both for $625 total. We both love them so much, and I imagine they’ll serve us well for a very long time. The seller refinished them on his own and said they’re from the 50’s. I like to think they feel right at home in our 1950’s house.

The other side of the room is a wall of closets and doors.

Those bi-fold doors are metal and awful. And in every single bedroom. They’ll all be replaced eventually with doors to match the new interior ones.

The room is pretty much a beige box now, but that will change soon. No concrete plans yet, but I’m pretty sure this lovely linen Lauren Liess Magnolia fabric will find a home in here.

Still to do: New bed side tables, a chair to replace the sad rattan one in the corner, a headboard, bedding, wall art, lamps, etc etc etc…