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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!

Around Here

12 May

We’ve been making small updates around the house over the last couple of months, so I thought I’d share some of the changes.

We made a headboard for the master bedroom and finally started decorating the space. Here’s what the room looked like the last time I shared it.



And now (though still much to do):




I liked the prints of the vintage eggs I had over the dresser, but since you can see the maps we hung in the hallway from the bedroom door, it started to look too busy.


I found these John Derian plates 40% off and couldn’t pass them up.


The light fixture came from the Ballard Designs outlet for $50.


I decided to move the rug that I purchased for the bedroom to the family room and start over in here. The neutral rug was too plain. Ideally I would find a fabulous vintage persian rug for here but finding one in the size I wanted would be waaaay out of budget. I ordered a sample of Pottery Barn’s Isaac Rug, and I think it will add the pattern the room needs.




While substantially less expensive then a traditional persian rug, it still isn’t cheap so I’m slowly saving up for it. Also left to do is add a chair in the empty corner by the window:


And replace the existing nightstands that match the bedroom set in the guest room. I’m also considering repainting because I have to repaint a room at least twice to call it done.

Here’s the old bedroom rug in the family room now:


The herringbone seagrass rug I had it here has been moved to the empty formal living room. Rug musical chairs!

The guest room has also seen a few tweaks:


I came across these smurf lamps at Target on clearance for $13.48 apiece a few weeks ago.


I spray painted them cream and replaced the small Ikea lamps I previously had in here.


A couple of months ago I came across one yard of quadrille contessa fabric on etsy for a steal. I was initially planning on using it in the master bedroom but changed my mind and used it to cover the existing pillow in here.


I also finally filled the empty frames over the secretary and found a lampshade for the old alabaster lamp I purchased last year.


Lastly, I’ve been working in the yard every chance I get in an effort to clean up our overgrown (understatement) back yard. And even though we had to push off converting our screened in porch to a sunroom this year, we decided to re-screen it now so we can enjoy it over the next year. It’s only costing us $100 in materials (why didn’t we do this sooner?) and will probably take another 2 or 3 days of work to complete. Here’ some progress shots:



I think we’re all caught up now! Until next time!

2013 House Goals

3 Jan

But first, Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays! I certainly did, but I am very happy to get back into the swing of every day life again.

So, every one is doing it and I’m jumping on the bandwagon – 2013 House Goals! We took on a LOT in 2012 which was fun but also exhausting. This year I’d like to scale it back a bit.

First and foremost, we need to finish up the projects still in process around the house.

Like make a runner rug for the hallway out of a carpet remnant and put some pictures on the wall:

rug remnant

The newly finished guest room still needs curtains and pictures to fill the empty frames on the wall:


And the master bedroom needs a proper headboard, new nightstands, art over the bed, pillows, an overhead light fixture, a reading chair, and new closet doors. You know. Nothing major.

Here’s where the room stood last summer. I’ve since purchased a white linen duvet cover and properly scaled bedside lamps.


Also to be re-done is our linen closet which will receive the same treatment the pantry and coat closet got in 2012. This project will require a little bit of macgyvering since a prior owner turned this space into a stackable laundry closet. We do our laundry in the basement, but we would like to keep the laundry hookups (they’re there, why not?). So … I think we’ll need to get creative to create a functioning space. Because this doesn’t function for anyone but Odie the Cat:


But the big project we’re hoping to take on this year is the screened in porch:



It’s not in great shape and needs to be rescreened at the very least, but we’d really like to glass it in to create a sun room that we can use year round. We’d like to add a small sitting area on the left (maybe just a loveseat and a couple of small arm chairs) and a dining area on the right (this would essentially serve as our eat-in kitchen since we don’t have one currently).

We’ve done a lot of research on what all this project would entail and cost, but there’s still a lot we need to figure out before moving forward. If the cost is just too high, we’ll either continue to save and postpone the project for a year or two or re-screen it to enjoy only as a screened in porch.

When we’re (hopefully!!!) framing for windows in the porch, we’ll also frame in the back of our “garage.” What started as a carport was kind of turned into a garage when a prior owner added a garage door (which didn’t function until recently when we replaced the motor). However, the back is completely open. We’d like to fully enclose the garage and add a door for access out back. Here’s an old picture of the space from when we were refinishing the old table. You can see the edge of the porch here too.


Speaking of out back, it needs some serious, serious love. Our backyard is a total, mostly unuseable, disaster. First of all, it’s covered in ivy. Secondly, the steep grade really limits our space back here. There isn’t much we can reasonably do about the lack of space, but the ivy situation can be remedied. One day our lot will be ivy-free. It may take ten years, but it will happen one day. And we’ll start the process this year. Same goes as for the side yard (which is where all of our useable “back yard” space is). Here’s that space viewed from the front yard.


Well I said we’d be scaling it back in 2013, but this sure doesn’t sound scaled back does it? Oh well.

Extra credit items: Re-seeding the front yard so we no longer have the largest weed to grass ratio in the neighborhood and take on some cheap basement projects.

Oh, the basement. Hard to believe I’m this far into my blogging adventure and have yet to mention our semi-unfinished basement! Here are the highlights: it’s a full basement, currently covered up in 90’s goodness (red, purple, orange, yellow, and turqoise can all be found on the walls and doors), and boasts a legit 1960 bomb shelter added by the original owner. I’ll have to do a whole post on the space sometime in the future.

Have any of you done a house goal’s post? Please link!

On one last note, this week I’m celebrating my one year blogaversary! What a fun year it’s been! Thanks for reading along!

My Hallway Might Kill Me

12 Nov

Y’all. Wainscoting is no joke.  Actually, crown moulding isn’t either. And we’ve been knee deep in both for the last 4 weeks. That’s 1 weekend to hang the crown moulding, 1 weekend to start the wainscoting, 1 weekend spent in Savannah vacationing and half-marathoning, and 1 more weekend hanging wainscoting. The good news is we’re almost done! Yeah!

I used my day off in honor of Veteran’s Day to fill and sand and sand and sand and sand. And then sand some more. But I’m almost done! Then I can caulk and caulk and caulk some more. Then paint and paint and paint some more. Lucky me!

But let’s focus on progress made, yes?

As a reminder, we started here:

Then we took the chair rail down and patched the walls:

Then we stared at it like that for … 10 months.

And here we are now:

We still need to add a 1×2 decorative ledge around the top to finish it off, but that seems like the easy part compared to all the sanding, caulking, and painting ahead of us.

I’m painting the upper portion of the walls Sherwin Williams Pavestone which I picked up this weekend during SW’s 40% off sale.

In the entry, I’m going to get the Brandon Rug from Pottery Barn. I have it in my kitchen as well and love it.

Down the long hallway, I’m going to have a custom rug cut and bound from a piece of carpeting. The Martha Stewart carpet line at Home Depot now offers custom cut rugs, but when I went to check it out the sales person didn’t have a lot of information. Assuming this turns out to be a viable (aka affordable) option, I’m thinking of going with the Mount Vernon Gray Squirrel carpet.

Stay tuned for more progress next week! In the meantime, I’m resting my weary arms on the sofa in front of Sarah 101 enjoying my favorite single girl dinner (cereal and red wine) while Steve is out for the evening. It’s a winning combination that has never let me down.

Dining Room (Re) Redo

7 Aug

Since last February, we’ve been slowly making changes in our dining room. It started innocently enough when I came across this table at Goodwill for $50.

You may remember that we already had a perfectly fine dining table. And chairs and curtains and wall art and all the other makings of a complete room. But I had never really been happy with the dining chairs we had, so when I spotted these chairs at a consignment shop I knew they would be coming home with me. Thankfully I was able to sell the existing chairs on craigslist and covered the cost of the new chairs.

And things kind of snow balled from there. Soon enough I was tracking down new fabrics and switching out the wall art.

Amazing how that happens, right? I’m just glad I still love the wall color (Ben Moore Camouflage). I’m too embarrassed to tell you how many coats of paint I put on those walls before settling on this.

But the room is finally starting to come together … again. Steve’s been working hard to refinish the Goodwill table little by little as he has time. I’m typically really involved in projects around the house, but I’m happy to leave the dirty job of sanding to him. And as of this weekend, we’re much closer to the staining phase. Here’s one of the pedestal legs in sanding central (the basement). You can see the top sitting on a table in the background.

When the table is done, the room will be (mostly) ready for it. Before I show you the progress, let’s take a moment to appreciate where it started.

That’s vinyl wall paper y’all.

And here’s the first redo:

And today:

There were only 7 of the new chairs available, so I bought 2 of these Ikea Henriksdal armchairs to add to the ends of the table should we need to add the leaf and seat 8.

As you can see, I still need to reupholster the chair seats. I’m also going to make some skirted slip covers for the seats. Probably like the picture below from here.

I would say it’s nice to have the room back together again, but here’s what it looks like currently:

You’re looking at the contents of my pantry here (clearly I have no shame). After a large grocery haul last week I decided our pantry needed to be re painted and organized right that very second. More on that project later!

Entry Way Progress

22 Jul

When Steve and I got back from our trip to California, I was pleased to see that the light fixture I ordered from Pottery Barn for our entry way finally came. It took 4 months, but I’d say it was worth the wait.

You can read more about our plans for this space and how it’s progressed already right here.

The entry was empty for a long time until we recently started moving things around in the dining room. I had a skirted table in there that I decided I would like better in this space, so I moved it a few weeks ago.

I originally thought I would like an old wood chest here, but I’m really happy with this set up.

The top of the table is plexi-glass for now. I’ve been meaning to get a piece of glass cut for it for about … two years now. We also need to have an outlet added to the wall behind the table. As it stands, the lamp is for looks only. There’s an outlet on the other side of this wall in the guest room, so I’m assuming it won’t be too difficult to have one added?

Here’s a close up of the fabric I used on the table.

The fabric is Ikat Fretwork in Fossil from Lewis and Sheron Fabrics.

I’m hoping we can get started on adding crown molding and wainscoting soon and get this space finished up!

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…