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Reveal day! The kids’ third floor casual hangout space

If you remember from a couple of previous posts, we’ve been turning an open third floor bonus room into a functional space for our growing kids.

Since moving in, we walled in a bedroom and closet, painted the walls, changed out the lighting, updated the trim and replaced the carpet (read all about the updates here). Instead of it being a big open space, we gave the room structure and it works so much better.

With the shell of the room complete, I got to do the fun part and add finishing touches. I started with a design plan (see it here) and kept to a mainly neutral color palette (big shock, I know), pulling in a bit of green and blue for color.

The room is casual and comfy, a little bit outdoorsy and a great spot for the kids to hang out.

Now that the kids are a little older (13, 11, 9 and 7), our playroom needs have changed. No longer do we need tons of storage for toys or open spaces for floor play. Those were sweet days and I loved creating a playroom for the kids when they were little (see it here).

This hangout space needed to work as a space for the kids to watch movies, play games with friends, lounge on a comfy couch with a book or create with legos.

I loaded the sectional couch with assorted pillows because I just can’t help myself. Of course they all end up on the floor when the kids are up here, but I still insist on them because they add texture and pattern to an otherwise very plain room.

On either side of the big window are framed posters of two of our favorite National Parks. I just love the greens and touch of blue they bring.

And, of course, you can’t have a finished room without a touch of living greenery. This time, I chose a very low-maintenance plant called Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (ZZ for short). It doesn’t need much to keep it alive, so it is perfect for this room where I’m not regularly having to bring it down to water.

Next to the couch, tucked into the little nook is where we ended up putting all the legos.

Lego storage has stumped us for nearly 10 years. We’ve tried so many different solutions: colors organized into separate boxes (that was very short-lived), spread out on a lego table, under bed storage bins, lego pit (that was a fun one where Ryan built a half wall in the boys’ dormer bump-out and we dumped all the legos in there), plastic totes. You name it, we probably tried it.

Truth be told, I love legos. The boys are super creative and come up with the most amazing things. As they get older, they are less and less into building, but I still want to keep them accessible, especially for Mason (9) who still enjoys digging through, building scenes and playing with the guys.

Our current lego storage solution is working out great. The big galvanized trough is what we kept our baby chicks in for the first few weeks. Once we moved them to the coop, Ryan had the brilliant idea to use the bin for legos.

It’s super sturdy, had rounded edges so the kids don’t get hurt while digging, it holds all of our legos and won’t break like every other plastic lego bin has seemed to do.

To fill in the big wall, I hung two shelves left over from the boys’ old room.

My original thought was to fill that wall with shelves so the boys could put their lego ships/cars/guys/etc on them. But then the decorator in me came out and instead filled them with books and pictures and plants and decorate-y things.

Here’s a more pulled-back shot so you can see how the room fits together. Don’t mind the unfinished stair trim, handrail and door. Someday we’ll have all the woodwork painted :)

On the other side of the stairway is the entrance to the bedroom.

On the wall opposite the couch is the tv on a low shelf with storage baskets. This is where the boys keep the xbox, games, controllers and a million wires.

It is so nice to have this great room for the kids. They tend to hang out downstairs most of the time, but I like that I can send them up when they have friends over and it gives them one more spot to chill when they need space.

As I was taking pictures, I realized how hard it is to show how the room flows together. So I snapped over to the video setting on the camera and made you a video tour. Enjoy!

SOURCES

ceiling lights | couch (Costco) | coffee table (old) | pom throw | green velvet pillow | patterned pillows (Homegoods + made by me) | textured dot pillows | plaid throw | floor lamp (old, Target) | national park posters | poster frames | lego trough (farm store) | shelves (wood) + brackets | tv stand | beanbags | wall color: Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore | trim: Shoji White by Sherwin Williams

Thank you to Barn Light Electric for sending us the industrial ceiling lights. We didn’t want anything that would easily be broken by random flying objects (this is primarily a boy hangout zone!) and the caged double pendants are perfect. 

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Remodeling the upstairs with new carpet, paint + trim

At long last, we have new carpet, trim and paint on the second and third floors.

This was a big project we were hoping to do before we moved in last fall … but you know how things go … sometimes plans change.

Our closing kept getting pushed back and we were so anxious to just move in. On night one, we accidentally started a mini-makeover on the kitchen. Then we built a bedroom and playroom on the third floor. At the same time, we worked on finishing out the studio. Somewhere in there was Christmas and four out of six of our birthdays, gymnastics class and flag football, new schools, bible study, creating new classes, designing paper works … you get the idea.

Finally, in January, we decided to start the carpet/trim/paint project.

Here’s something you should know about me and Ryan: we are not fast decision makers. Choosing carpet was no exception.

We knew we wanted a loop carpet with a slight texture in a light-to-midtone warm gray. Durability was important, as was quality. At least we agreed on those criteria.

We went into a local wholesale flooring showroom we work with to pull options. There were a handful of carpets we liked but we really needed to seem them in the house to decide, so we ordered small samples of each of them. Once they arrived, nothing felt quite right.

So back to the showroom we went in search of new options.

This time we fell in love with the one on the right – a wool loop. I love a wool carpet and while most of the wools were out of our budget, this one was not. It was much darker than we originally wanted, but the idea grew on us.

When our carpet installer came by to check out the house and give us a bid and he urged us to not pick the wool. Mainly because there were a few necessary seams running in obvious places in a few rooms and he was not confident that they would look great with this tight of a loop.

We found ourselves back at the showroom yet again to pick another option. This time, we were pretty sure about what we needed, picked a textured loop in a nice color and placed the order.

Our final pick was Shaw Detailed Statement Loop in Textured Canvas. Whew. It felt great to finally make a decision.

Before we had the carpet installed, we wanted to repaint all of the ceilings and walls on the second floor (the third floor was already painted by yours truly). And since we were going to the trouble to have everything painted, we figured it was a great time to also replace all of the original oak trim.

So basically we had to move all of our stuff out of the second and third floors and pile it all up on the main floor for two weeks while the remodel was underway. We’re pretty used to chaos, so we didn’t think much about it.

Um … our house was a complete DISASTER.

Mattresses in the kitchen, temporary bunks set up in the family room.

Piles of furniture and beds and toys all stacked in the living and dining rooms.

Funny story: one night during all of this some girlfriends asked me to go out for dinner and I had to decline. My stress level was particularly high that night and one of my sweet friends suggested that I pour a glass of wine and relax in a bubble bath. Which sounded lovely except for the fact that our bathtub looked like this:

There’s nothing like a bathtub filled with clothes and deconstructed closet organizers littering the bathroom to put you at ease :)

It’s a little crazy to live in a house while it is being remodeled. Lots of patience and the ability to see past the mess is required. I was so looking forward to lightening up the walls, having fresh carpet and updated trim, that all the mess felt worth it. Short-lived pain for a big gain (or something like that).

We started by pulling off all of the trim around the doors, windows and baseboards. They just popped off with little effort.

Next came the paint.

To make things easy, we repeated the same white we used downstairs and in the studio – Shoji White by Sherwin Williams. It is a slightly creamy white with subtle gray undertones. All of the walls got an eggshell finish; ceilings in flat.

Next, the trim went up and old carpet came out.

The baseboards are 5.5″ and doors and windows 3.5″. I wanted a really simple framing around the doors and windows with just mitered corners. This is how we did the trim in the studio and I love how clean and modern it looks.

If we had more time, we would have had the trim and doors caulked and painted before the carpet went in, but alas, we did not. So a day later, the carpet installers came and worked their magic.

When you pick carpet in a showroom and don’t bring home a sample before ordering, you get a little nervous. Thankfully, it was just right and we were very happy with the choice.

The carpet is cushy, low-pile and a good light warm-gray. Per our carpet installers suggestion, we went with a good quality carpet pad with moisture barrier and because of the pattern in the carpet the seams we were worried about are nearly invisible.

Now that the walls, trim and carpet are in, the rooms feel so much brighter. And also cleaner.

We’re just waiting on having the trim and doors caulked and painted which will really finish up the rooms.

This very early 90’s window is not staying. It’s a shame to cover up natural light, but it must be done. Also, we sold our bed frame this weekend and now I’m on the hunt for a new one. Can’t wait to put our bedroom together!

Just for fun, here is a gif of each step:

It made a complete mess of the house, but we’re so happy with this clean slate!

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Cozy Spring Home Tour | the new studio all prettied up

Today I’m joining a group of talented bloggers on a Cozy Spring Home Tour hosted by Rachel from Shades of Blue Interiors + Country Living Magazine and sponsored by HomeGoods. Country Living wrote a great roundup article with 22 ways to decorate for spring pulling from each space (read that here) and be sure to scroll all the way down for links to all of the other pretty rooms decorated for Spring!


shelves | dress art | pink vase | letter sorter | ribbon | linen files | stapler + tape | chair | lamp

I signed up to join this Spring tour of homes before I had any idea if I would have a room in our new house that was mildly ready for photos.

The house is in a constant state of disarray as we make improvements and updates which is super fun and exciting for us, but it makes it tricky to style and photograph a put-together room. In fact, as we speak, the entire upstairs is undergoing a makeover with new paint, trim and carpet going in which means everything had to be moved out and therefore is now piled into the living and dining rooms. So basically, the house is a mess.

Thankfully, we have this great space – outside of the house – that sits above the garage and has slowly but surely been coming together.

I lovingly refer to it as The Studio.

This tour was just the motivation I needed to finally unpack boxes, finish a few diy projects and pretty things up to make it ready for spring. I am so, so happy with how this space looks and feels!

desk | desktop | pulls | chair | sheepskin | lamp | shelves | box | vase | basket | glass ball

In case you missed any of the previous posts about this space, here is the before and after and this was the initial design plan.

Initially, the idea was for me and Ryan to use the studio as our joint work space. Since we work from home and work together, it made sense to share an office. But then, somehow, Ryan claimed the small office in the house and gave the whole studio to me.

It feels like an absolute dream to have this room to work, play, create, relax, workout and gather in.

Staying true to my decorating style, the main pieces in the studio are all very neutral: white, natural wood tones, warm leather, a touch of black, linen, mixed metals and woven baskets.

We semi-built-in a desk to ground the space and give lots of storage and surface area to work and create (full details coming soon).

Just last week I installed the floating shelves and could not wait to style them with a mix of functional items (the file boxes and letter sorter) and decorative (art, ribbon, vases + plants).

pillow | chair

My favorite part about starting with a mainly neutral palette is that decorating for each season becomes very easy.

By simply adding in a few inexpensive accessories like pillows, vases, art prints and throws, you get a seasonal look without having to change, spend (or store!) much.

To add a touch of spring to the studio, I surprised myself and decided to add little bits of pink around the room.

Pink has never been my go-to color, but I’m very much loving how it adds a feminine touch to all of the slightly masculine lines and finishes.

SIMPLE TIP: The key to adding in a ‘pop’ of color is to mix the tones for a natural, layered look.

In this case, there are bright, light, peachy and dusty pinks all mixed together rather than one consistent shade of pink.

Farm Anatomy | Nature Anatomy | basket | glass ball

This room is so charming with two big dormers that let in lots of natural light.

In one dormer lives my rescued fiddle leaf fig tree. It was near death at the hardware store and they sold it to me for a discount because of its sad state. My mission is to nurse this guy back to health and so far, so good.

I just love this view:

light | basket

The second dormer is a reading area with a cozy chair and new side table I found last week at HomeGoods. I’ve been on the hunt for something petite but sturdy and this hairpin/marble combo is perfect.

chair | table | rug | pillow |throw

And, of course, a room of mine would not be complete without lots and lots of greenery. I love the freshness it brings, the texture and color. All of the plants seen in this space are from my local hardware store – nothing fancy or precious and as long as I remember to keep them watered, they should last a long time.

We still have a few more projects to complete in the studio and much more to share. Soon I’ll give all the details on the desks, how the drawers are organized, a new work table for the center of the room, a diy dog bed for my constant companion, Atlas, and a final finished tour of the space.

Until then, I hope you enjoyed a peek at the space styled for spring!


There are so many gorgeous homes to visit on the tour … grab a cup of coffee and have fun clicking through for loads and loads of spring decorating tips and inspiration.

Shades of Blue InteriorsThe Nesting Place

Home Stories A to ZThe Golden SycamoreThe Lettered CottageTIDBITS

Craftberry BushJones Design CompanyRooms FOR RentJulie Blanner

Zevy JoyAKA DesignSo Much Better With AgeFinding Silver Pennies

The Chronicles of HomeUnskinny BoppyCherished BlissTown & Country Living

Clean & ScentsibleMaison de PaxElla ClaireMaking Home Base

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How to get the brass-look drawer hardware for (much) less

The drawers in the studio finally have hardware.

It took forever to put them on and here’s why: I’m terrible at it. Seriously, terrible. I put the cabinet/drawer hardware on in the kitchen and pretty much every one is crooked. How is that possible when you have a template and measure over and over again before drilling? I can not say. I’d like to blame the drill.

Regardless, I decided I was not willing to install the hardware on the drawers in the studio because they really needed to be straight and my track record wasn’t promising. With 12 million other projects in the house, the drawer pulls kept getting pushed off until my darling husband finally gave in to my constant request and worked his magic.

NOTE: installing hardware should not be this difficult. Simply find the center of the drawer, mark where the screws will go, drill a small pilot hole and then increase the drill bit to the correct size of the screw.

Now that the pulls are installed, let me start at the beginning and show you how they came to be.

My inspiration for the studio desks was this picture of the same dresser from ikea with brass bar pulls. I instantly fell in love with the look and wanted to recreate it in the studio.

After searching every resource possible online, I found that long brass pulls are crazy expensive. I adore these from Schoolhouse Electric, but there were two problems. 1. I was hoping for something longer than they offer (ideally 15-18″) and 2. $74 per pull was not in the budget. My sister has the same pulls in her gorgeous kitchen and while they are expensive, they are beautifully made, very heavy and true statement pieces. I just couldn’t justify it for this space.

Since I kept coming up short, I decided to improvise with a cabinet pull diy.

I found a 10-pack of 15″ bar pulls for $49.49. The size was good, shape was minimal, but color was wrong (they only came in satin nickel).

I figured it was worth a try to change the color with my go-to gold spray paint.

I rigged up a way to spray them to get even coverage by poking a hole through a cardboard lid and screwing in the pulls as you would on a drawer front. This little system worked great!

It only took a couple of light coats and the pulls were looking more in line with my vision.

The gold spray paint (Rustoleum Universal metallic in Pure Gold) has a pretty champagne-y gold finish and they would have been fine, but I was hoping for something just a bit more patina-ed and worn. Something that would more closely mimic the look of aged brass.

Out came the Gold Leaf Rub ‘n Buff.

This stuff is basically shoe polish for metal.

You take a glob and rub it onto the surface in a circular motion with a rag. It doesn’t take much until you have a richer golden/brassy color.

See the difference? On the left is the paint alone and the right has the polish on it.

How about a little side-by-side comparison:

For just $5 per pull + spray paint, polish and a little bit of time, I am really happy with the results.

If these were going to be used in a daily, high-use area – like a kitchen, for example – I might be a bit more cautious about choosing a spray painted pull. I can imagine that the paint will scratch over time and they may not look as good. For this space, though, they work great. And they look so nice on the dressers-turned-desks.

As you can see, there was one additional problem: the new pulls don’t line up with the pre-drilled holes.

So for the next diy, I patched the little holes for an (almost) seamless look.

We had a container of this patching paste in the garage, so I pulled it out and got to work.

I just dabbed a bit on my finger, sm0oshed it into the hole and wiped the excess away.

The holes were not quite covered after one coat, so I went over it again with a second and this time used a ruler to scrape it flat against the surface. A putty knife would probably be the tool of choice, but a ruler was right there and I didn’t feel like searching out the right tool, so I just went with it. #thestoryofmydiylife

Usually when you use this patching paste, you lightly sand off the excess and then paint to cover. In my case, I didn’t really want to sand the drawer fronts for fear that it would take off the pre-finished white paint. While my original plan was to paint the dressers a deep green, I’m really happy with the white for now and want to live with them this way for a while.

It dawned on me that since the paste washed off my fingers with soap and water, perhaps it would wipe off of the drawers as well (just the little bits of excess around the patched hole).

So with a bowl of warm, soapy water, a scrubby sponge (my fave from here) and a paper towel, I gave it a try.

A little bit of scrubbing and the patching paste came right up, just as I hoped.

If you look closely, you can still barely see the holes, but not enough to really notice.

Overall, I feel quite happy with the hardware choice and achieving the brass look for much, much less.

SOURCES

dressers | wood countertop | pulls | lamps | chairs | sheepskin | floating shelves | floors

wall + trim color: Shoji White by Sherwin Williams

For more about this space:

The Finished Studio

The Classic + Modern Design Plan for the Studio

A Hiccup in the Plan

Semi-Diy Table Lamps

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Updating the Entry: painting the doors, trim + staircase

As we are beginning to meet people in our new town, we’re finding that when they drop by, we end up chatting in the entry.

The problem is, the entry is not the best representation of our style and what we’re doing in the rest of the house.

Here is the entry on the day we moved in (taken from the now moody living room):

The ultimate vision for the entry is to update the front door (with something like this to let in more light), add medium-toned hardwood throughout the entire main floor to keep the floors consistent, simplify the banister, remove the carpet from the stairs and replace with wood, add bulkier white trim to the baseboards and around the doors.

Before Christmas, we did make a couple of updates: switching out the light fixtures for these simple drum shade flush mounts and painting the walls and ceiling the same white as in the kitchen (shoji white by Sherwin Williams).

This definitely helped clean up the area, but it is still so far from what our vision is!

I would say that has been an interesting challenge so far in this house. We have a clear idea of what each room will end up like, but the process is slow, budget must be considered and there is an order that makes most sense.

For instance, replacing the carpet on the second and third floors takes precedence over adding hardwoods downstairs. Before we do hardwoods on the main floor, we want to take out the wall between the kitchen and dining room. And while we are taking out that wall, it will require moving appliances, so we want to be prepared to redo the whole kitchen at that point. It’s like the ultimate “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” moment.

We are trying to be realistic and find the balance between giving ourselves time to really live here and jumping ahead with our vision. And to top it all off, every square inch of this house has me so inspired to make changes that it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. I have this sense of urgency to make updates when really, there is no rush. I keep reminding myself to take it slow, keep it fun, share the process.

So what we’re ending up with is a series of stages of updating. Phase One: make short-term changes that freshen up the space for little investment. Phase Two: make long-term choices that take longer, cost more, but ultimately give us the result we’re after. Phase One might feel like a waste since it will all be changed out eventually, but these changes help us enjoy living and entertaining in the house today and that feels worth it. (The kitchen mini makeover is a perfect example).

The entry is another place for us to make our Phase One changes.

After we updated the kitchen and painted out all of the orange-toned oak trim, cabinets and doors, the doors and trim connecting the kitchen to the entry really stood out.

This is a view I look at a million times per day and so it was time to pull out the paintbrush and make a change.

Using the same method as before, I spent this past weekend painting and am so happy with the in-the-meantime results.

We used the same color as in the kitchen – Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams – in a semi-gloss finish. After a light sanding and cleaning, I simply painted on two coats of latex paint (the Behr highest quality, Marquee).

What a big difference!

The dark doors look modern and clean and even with the change in flooring material, it feels less busy.

Here’s another view from the entry:

The french doors leading into the still-untouched office are so handsome in the new dark paint!
And the stairs.

There is much to be desired with this entry staircase. We would love to have it feel more grand and open, but we’re a bit limited with how the floorplan is laid out. So the basic layout will remain.

While it looks like the carpet runner is just put down over the wood stairs and therefore would be easy to remove and paint the treads, this is not the case. The wood only runs along the edges. So for now, the carpet must stay. When we put in new wood floors, we will run them all the way up the stairs for a consistent look. At that time, we will also remove the rounded end cap and put in a simple straight-lined banister (something like this).

In the meantime, however, these stairs needed an update.

I wasn’t sure exactly where and how much to paint, so I started by just doing the side trim and banister/rails.

It ended up looking very choppy and drew more attention to the orange tone in the wood and the odd placement of the carpet runner – not things we were wanting to highlight.

So out came the can of paint and I went over all of it with the charcoal color.

So much better. Still not the perfect solution, but it does simplify the space.

When we moved in, we put that black dresser in the entry and I threw a few things out in an attempt to have it look decorated.

A favorite print found in a local boutique (sorry, I don’t know a source!), a vintage brass tray, cement light (from Target a few years ago), pleated wreath (here’s the tutorial) and a vase made in art class by our oldest son (a new cherished possession).

The black dresser feels pretty dark and bulky in this spot and will find a new place to be shortly. It is one of my favorite pieces we own, but it isn’t quite right for the entry. I’m thinking now with the dark paint, we need something lighter and brighter in the entry. I’ll keep you posted …

Right inside the door we have a bench, basket for shoes and tall mirror (such a steal at $49 from IKEA). I’d love to see a bigger rug in here – something durable with maybe a touch of color. I’m on the hunt.

Opposite the bench is a row of my favorite hooks (from here) for guests to hang coats and bags when they visit.

Phase One in the entry is complete. Phase One part two will be some changes in the furniture and styling and we’ll get to the bigger Phase Two changes later this year. Overall, these simple fixes do a lot to freshen up the space and make it feel more like us.

Now when guests drop by, the entry feels a little bit more like us.

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