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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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The third floor hangout room | a cozy, casual design plan

Since the studio desk situation was hurting my creative brain, I moved on to coming up with a design plan for the hangout space up on the third floor.

This house is just one big project and even though it would be great to go one room at a time, I can’t help myself :)

So while I continue to figure out the studio, we are simultaneously working on finishing up the third floor.

Let me remind you of what the space looked like when we bought the house:

This third floor was a major bonus and we knew right away it would be useful for our big family. To best use the space, we walled in that back half to create a bedroom for our oldest son (see his design plan here) and the rest of the space will be used for a hangout area.

Now that the paint and trim is finished and two new industrial lights installed, the shell is starting to come together.

Carpet is next; we’re ordering this week and should have it installed shortly. We are going a little lighter on the carpet and it will have a nice texture and more cozy feel than the industrial type that is up there now.

Audrey mainly plays in her room where all of her doll stuff is kept and the two younger boys have all of their legos and nerf guns in their shared room. Other than that, we don’t do a lot of toys anymore which means a playroom isn’t necessary. This third floor area will primarily serve as a hangout space for the boys and their friends.

Last week we found a sectional at Costco and bought it on a whim. We wanted to have a spot for the kids to lounge and this durable fabric, secure cushions and affordable price tag was a good fit. We will be bringing up a tv for the kids to play xbox and watch movies on, and we have a square coffee table that doubles as a great surface for board games. It will be really nice for them to have a separate place to be loud and have fun and not hear their mother reminding them again to please take their feet off the nice couch.

With the new kid-approved sectional in place, I spent some time pulling together a design plan to finish out the rest of the hangout room.

The first thing we ordered for the room were the two industrial lights. They are substantial, cool looking and set the tone for the slightly industrial/loftish boy space.

Next were the National Park posters. We had such an amazing time exploring a bunch of National Parks this summer on our road trip and so it felt right to bring a bit of nature and good memories into the room. I chose Yosemite and the Redwoods because they were two of our favorites, they reflect the evergreen trees we are surrounded by and the color of the artwork is so pretty.

From there, I pulled together some items that we already have and ordered a few accessories to fill in the gaps. The kids are notorious for pillow fighting with my good pillows, so I didn’t want to go overboard on pillows.

A living plant always feels like it finishes a space and after reading through the comments on this post, I am taking your advice and getting a zz plant for this space. It is supposedly very low-maintenance, prefers little water and can tolerate minimal natural light which will be great for this room.

We have a few more construction things to do (carpet, painting the railing and door, touching up the ceiling paint) and then I can start putting the decorative touches in!

SOURCES

National Park Art | Industrial Light | Paint: Revere Pewter |  Trim: Shoji White | Green Pillow | Pom Pom Pillow | Textured Pillow | Pom Pom Throw (coming soon to the shop) | Brass Tray | Bean Bags | 4 Cube Shelf | Gray Basket | Float Frame | Table Lamp | Rug

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Studio progress: there is an unexpected hiccup in the design plan

I set up a temporary desk in the studio last week and have loved working in this new space. The light is so good, it is quiet, big and open and the perfect backdrop for creative work.

Spending more time up there made me extra excited to get working on putting the studio together.

After we came up with the design plan, I ordered the dressers, countertops, lights, chairs, hardware, and diy whiteboard supplies to get this space organized and looking good.

The first step was putting together the IKEA dressers, which took me forever. Like at least two hours each. At one point, my 9 year old was helping me and doing a much better job at understanding the directions than I. I’ll chalk that up to his mad lego-building skills.

The third and final one was finished on Friday, just in time for the gorgeous leather chairs to be delivered on Saturday. So my weekend plans pretty much centered around pulling the rest of the room together.

As per the original desk idea, Ryan cut off the legs of the dressers to reduce the height and we topped the three with the wood countertops.

All was great until I pulled up the new chair to try it out.

The seat height was too short. BOOO! 

We knew it was going to be close, but with the adjustable height chairs and with the estimated measurement of the desk, we thought it would work. Unfortunately, the chairs are just too short.

Or the desk is too high.

Time for Plan B.

I’ll be honest: I don’t always do well with changing plans once I have something in my head. What I have in my head is what I drew on paper before ordering all the items to put it together:

And what I drew on paper is pretty much what it looks like with the dressers/counter tops/chairs in place.

I like the visual weight of the dressers. I like the symmetry. I like the double work areas and storage the drawers offer.

I don’t like that the configuration doesn’t go all the way to the wall on the right or that there is a seam in the wood countertop right in the center. Neither are total deal-breakers for me, but it opened up the door to explore new options.

The first option is to keep the desks as-is and just switch out the chairs. The ones we ordered are beautiful, functional, comfortable and I’m a little bummed to have to loose them. As a close alternative, I could use these counter stools. The 24″ seat height should work and it would keep the warm leather, which is what I was hoping for.

The second option is to change the desk.

So we started moving things around and brainstorming new ideas.

SIDENOTE: When I say ‘we‘, what I really mean is Ryan. He is flexible and a problem-solver and balances out my stubbornness and indecisiveness in situations like these.

Anyway, back to the desk. Here is one scenario we tried:

We could put one dresser in the center under the window with the wood countertops mounted on either side at a typical desk height (we pulled barstools from the house to get the idea. The desk would be mounted to the wall and up a little higher). Picture both sides having wood desks with the dresser slightly higher in the center.

A third option could be to remove the dressers altogether (and use them elsewhere in the room) and attach minimal table legs (like these) under the wood counters to create two side-by-side desks (similar to my old office desk as seen in the first photo above). They wouldn’t run the whole width of the wall, but it would allow for one solid desk surface. This option could work. I just really liked the idea of drawers at the desks and the way they anchor the end of the studio.

I don’t know, you guys. Why can’t I just decide?!

I told you that I would share the process of designing the studio each step of the way and this hiccup is a very real step in most design projects. Flexibility and creative problem-solving are good skills to have when you run into little issues like too-high desks and unfortunately, I don’t possess large amounts of either of those skills. At least not for this project where I had my mind set on the original plan.

And that is where we left off.

Ryan did get the can lights installed and I managed to bring up a million boxes of storage and office things that have been temporarily stacked up in the garage. At least that feels nice to have those parts finished.

But I’m still stumped about the desk and a bit bummed that the plans are not working as I hoped.

Hmmmm … what to do, what to do …

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The Family Room Sectional was our best choice yet

In our last house, the living room was open to the kitchen. It was our main hang-out space for hosting parties, hanging out with the kids and watching tv. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll likely remember the shingled fireplace and tufted chesterfield sofa that lived in that room.

The new house has a more typical floor plan with a formal living room near the front of the house (see it here) and a good-sized family room off the kitchen.

Having two spaces for gathering was very appealing as we could use the living room for quiet, adult-ish time and the family room for more casual family hanging out. We put the tufted sofa in the living room (see it here) which left us seat-less in the family room.

And that meant a search was on for a good, comfortable, stylish couch was on.

The main criteria were:

SIZE – big enough for all six of us to sit on

STYLE – clean, straight lines

QUALITY – durable frame, hard-wearing upholstery, down-filled cushions

AVAILABILITY – delivery within 4 weeks (we were on a time crunch to get furniture in the room before our family came to stay for Christmas).

Because of the size and slightly strange shape of the room and because we wanted a big, deep, cushy couch, we decided an L-shaped sectional was our best option. After lots of online searching and a few days of furniture store shopping, we ultimately landed on the Lounge II 3 piece sectional from Crate and Barrel.

You guys. I know it is just a couch, but seriously, it is by far the most comfortable couch I’ve ever sat on. Which can be a real problem because all I want to do now is sit on it :)

The size fits perfectly in the odd nook of the family room. We have big plans to elevate the simple style of this room (I’ll share our ideas soon!) but until then, the couch was just what we needed to make it feel cozy and usable. At Christmas, with all our family here, we fit 8 adults without a problem on this big thing. That was exactly what we were hoping for and it made us extra happy with our choice.

Once we pulled the purchase-trigger on the couch, we realized we didn’t have a coffee table. The hope for this room was to be a family-friendly, casual place for hanging out and entertaining so we wanted a coffee table that would not only be the right scale next to the huge sectional, but could also work for extra seating.

After searching and searching, I came across this tufted ottoman bench on sale at Target. The price was great and with two placed side-by-side, it creates a large surface that can also be pulled apart for more seating. The linen color is very close to the color of the couch – not a perfect match, but not too clashy. I’m thinking I’ll reupholster the top of the ottomans at some point just for contrast and maybe in a more durable, darker upholstery fabric since these get lots of wear. I’m thinking a navy herringbone could be pretty.

To save the existing fabric and add more pattern to the room, I draped my favorite wool blanket across the ottomans and topped with an old basket to hold books, remotes, a vase of the prettiest ranunculus and Jenga blocks for impromptu playing. There have been a few times when we needed a hard surface for drinks and snacks, so I just bring in another tray to set those on. For the most part, though, we don’t eat and drink out of the kitchen, so that hasn’t been much of a problem.

We ordered the couch online, but went into a Crate & Barrel store beforehand to see it in person and make sure it was the right choice. I’m so glad we did. We would have ordered the darker gray version, but in person much preferred the light color (ours is the Taft fabric in Cement). And – BONUS! – it is an in-stock fabric so it shipped much faster!

The couch is very deep, which we absolutely love, and throw pillows are almost necessary to keep you sitting upright. Luckily for me, I have a total love affair with pillows and was happy to add a few more to my collection for this room.

Overall, we are so pleased with the choice. It was an investment, for sure, and hopefully a family couch we can keep for years and years.

There will be so many more updates of this room that we’re hoping to get to this Spring. I think it might become my favorite room in the house if all goes as planned. Details to come, of course.

For now, here are all of the sources found in our casual family room setup:

1. sectional | 2. floor lamp | 3. pom pom throw | 4. leather pillow | 5. x pillow | 6. side table | 7. ottoman | 8. check blanket | 9. wood lamp (similar) | 10. basket | 11. faux fur pillow | 12. modern dot pillow | 13. geometric pillow | 14. blue pillow (similar)

 

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A classic + modern design plan for the studio (I’m so excited!)

Now that the shell of the studio is complete, it’s time to get to work on a design plan for how to best use the space.

You would think that I would have had this all planned out for months, but nope. This is probably due to the fact that I’m simultaneously thinking about a bunch of other rooms and that I’m so much better at visualizing things once I can stand in a space and get a feel for it. Now that the studio is ready and kitchen makeover is complete, my focus is fully on this space.

(Well, that’s half true. I’m also thinking about the fireplace makeover I have planned and choosing carpet and repainting the third floor … so many fun things to do in this house!)

I love a good before and after, but I also totally see the value in sharing the process of how to get from that before to the after. So for the studio, my plan is to share it all step-by-step.

When approaching the decorating of any space, I like to think about a few things:

What is the purpose of the room?

and

What is the desired feeling for the space?

I will use the studio to work at the computer, store my craft/decorating supplies, take product photos for the shop and instagram, record Coffee Chats, sit with Ryan to plan and calendar all things JDC, meet with clients and gather with friends to work around a table. I am such a visual person that I work best when my space is clean and orderly, and also creatively inspiring. So my goal for the studio is for it to be light and bright, organized, warm, comfortable. Basically, a place that feels inspiring to work in and relaxing to be in.

Last week Ryan and I spent some time up in the studio figuring out how to layout the space to make the most sense. The dormers and angles are charming, but also cause limitations (there are only three flat walls to hang things on!). Ryan is so good at space planning so I rely pretty heavily on him to offer his vision. And he delivered. He came up with a great plan to build in a desk along the entire back wall, add bookshelves/storage on the wall between the dormers, put a table in the center of the room and a reading/planning area in one slanted-ceilinged corner.

Here’s a rough sketch of the layout:
Once we had the general layout figured out, I got right to work coming up with a specific plan. I have a pinterest board dedicated to my favorite office spaces, so it was great to look through those images to pull inspiration.

Since we decided the best use of space was to create a built-in desk along the back wall, that was my first focus. I spent hours – literally hours! – searching for creative built-in desk solutions.

My mom has a cute home office desk with three sets of filing cabinets holding up the wood top. That was initially what I was going to mimic, but then I started having second thoughts.

First, the wall we are putting the desk on is quite large. I felt like a small filing cabinet just wouldn’t be the right scale. Second, I don’t need storage for files and paperwork. Third, filing cabinets are not cheap! It felt like if I were going to pay several hundred dollars for this desk situation, I might as well make it very functional and more in line with my desired aesthetic for the studio.

This led me down a long and time-consuming rabbit trail of searching for something other than a filing cabinet I could use as the base of the built-in desks.

I came across this image and it was the perfect jumping off point. I figured if a filing cabinet could be used as the base of a desk, so could a dresser.

Next it was just a matter of finding the right scale and price point for a piece of furniture. I scrolled through all of my favorite online stores, salvage places and craigslist to find three matching dressers/bookshelves that were the right depth and height and came up without many options. With the options I did find, I drew out the measurements and prices along with pros and cons until ultimately landing on the Hemnes 3-drawer dresser from IKEA.

The dimensions were not perfect, but with some alteration the height would be workable.

To help me visualize what the dressers would look like, I printed off a photo of the studio and drew right over top.

Seeing it on paper (even in a not-to-scale, sketch-y version) was just what I needed to make the final decision.

With the built-in desk figured out, all of the other finishes and pieces could be chosen. For the studio, we’re going for a classic, modern and pretty minimal feel.

light | chair | dresser | wood countertop | table lamp | throw | acrylic sheet | standoff screws | windsor chairs | rug | cowhide rug

I’m not straying much from my typical style, but maybe pushing it slightly more clean-lined than I would in the house. A warm, neutral color palette of white, black, natural wood and brown leather will give a simple backdrop to the creative work projects that will happen in the studio. I still haven’t decided if I’ll paint the dressers that gorgeous deep green (Calke Green by Farrow + Ball), or keep them white. Either way, I know I’ll bring in green with a few plants to add a bit of life to the otherwise colorless palette. There are a few things I’ll pull from our house (like our dining room table and a reading chair) to add to the mix and we have another built-in shelf to figure out for in between the two dormers. But progress is being made!

We have two out of three dressers put together, chairs and lights are on their way, a diy white board is in the works and one of these days I’ll get the kids to help me lug up the million boxes of office stuff from the garage.

Hopefully seeing my design process is helpful! I’ll keep you updated as we continue to make progress …

 

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Coffee Chat Episode 15 | in the new kitchen

Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat!

Today we’re in our newly made-over kitchen.

I posted the full reveal with lots of before and after photos (read that here) and your comments were so fun to read through! Many questions were asked on repeat, so in today’s video, I thought it would be fun to answer them on video and talk through our answers.

Welcome to our kitchen! Let’s chat …

MENTIONED IN THE VIDEO

The most asked question by far was “Where is the microwave?“.

Answer: we moved it into the pantry.

Isn’t that a lovely photo?! It’s just a tiny pantry tucked under the stairs and we sacrificed some shelf space for the microwave. Ryan is on a mission to make this space more efficient, so I’ll keep you posted if/when he adds more storage.


Next question: “Do the open shelves really function as well as they look?” and sister-question: “Do they offer enough storage?

Answer: I love them, they function well and storage is not a problem for us.

I snapped a few photos to show you inside the cupboards. I am a big fan of editing and giving away anything that either I don’t use, like or need on a fairly regular basis. This reduces what we have and allows us to keep the less-lovely kitchen essentials in the lower cabinets.

If you love the look of open shelves but can’t give up all of your upper cabinet storage space, you could also try removing just one cabinet (in a spot that makes sense) to give you a space for display while still keeping some of the uppers for storage.

Or, just take them all down and whittle down your dish collection to only the ones you use and love and display them proudly :)


Many questions came in asking “How did you paint the cabinets?“.

Like I mention in the video, you will want to take your particular cabinets into account before following my instructions. Our cabinets are solid wood with a slight sheen and were very easy to paint. Other cabinets will need more of a sanding job or different paint formula in order for them to be durable. Just remove a door and take it into your local paint store to get an expert’s opinion.

Here are my steps: lightly sand with 120 grit sand paper. Wipe down to remove sanding dust. Paint two coats of latex semi-gloss paint (with a good quality brush). Let dry a few days to fully cure.

I took all of the drawers out and doors off to paint the cabinet bases and drawer fronts, then put the doors back on to paint the front and sides of those. We chose not to paint inside the cabinets, but if I were planning on keeping the cabinets for a longer time than we are, I would have at least done the inside of the doors.

If you are painting dark cabinets a lighter color, you may want to prime first, then do two or three coats of paint for a nice finish. Our dark paint color covered really well and made the job quite easy.


The shirt I’m wearing in the video is THIS COZY ONE.

Thanks for watching!

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Kitchen Mini Makeover REVEAL

Our original plan for our kitchen was to live with it the way it was for a year or two before we did a full remodel.

But on our first night in the new house, we just couldn’t help ourselves and a mini kitchen remodel began.

We decided that since we spend so much time in the kitchen and it is at the center of the floor plan, it made sense to make a few big-impact, small-cost projects that would totally transform the space and make it more enjoyable for us to work and gather in.

Before I show you the updated kitchen, let’s remember what it looked like when we moved in.

The kitchen is a great size and the layout works well. The floors and countertops were updated and while not necessarily what I would choose now, they are in good shape. The cabinets are solid wood and appliances work great.

We were not crazy about the orange tone of the cabinets and how it contrasted so much with the cool grays of the floors and counters. The bulkiness and detailing of the upper cabinets, the shallow double basin sink and oddly placed faucet, and lack of lighting were also issues to tackle. These things didn’t seem too difficult to change. We knew if we DIYed it all, we could turn this kitchen into a really attractive and functional space.

We are finally finished with the makeover and so happy with how it turned out!

Ready to see the new kitchen?

When you walk from the entry into the main living area, this is now what you see:

We love the way the dark cabinets tie in with the existing gray floors and granite countertops. Someday we will have wood floors in here and simple white countertops, but this was a great lesson in working with what we have.

Bringing in the wood shelves and brass hardware brought in much-needed warmth and really finished out the space.

The previous white double basin sink was replaced with a single basin stainless steel sink that I adore. Just for fun, we mixed up the metals and used a brass-toned faucet. Updating the sink and faucet instantly elevated the style and function of the kitchen. The sink/disposal/faucet combo was second to the shelves in cost and worth every penny.

The wood shelves are absolutely everything I was hoping they would be. They add warmth, an organic and modern feel and allow me to style with everyday kitchen things. We had open shelves in our last kitchen and not only love how they look, but also how well they function for us.


The shelves are reclaimed cedar planks from our favorite local salvage store. We loved their natural color, so only gave them a few coats of clear polyurethane to seal them.

Figuring out how to securely hang the shelves was the trickiest part of the whole makeover. I was set on floating shelves for their modern simplicity, but the wood we bought was just not going to work with the necessary floating shelf brackets. We ran through just about every shelf bracket option and landed on these stainless steel angle brackets.

As it turns out, I don’t mind the brackets showing at all. We are fans of mixing metals and it is nice to repeat the silver tone of the sink, chairs and pendant light up on the brackets as well.

Let’s look one more time at the before and after photos side by side:

I just love a good before and after and this kitchen was the perfect candidate.

By adding lighting, paint, updating the sink and faucet, switching out hardware and putting up open shelves, this kitchen looks like a brand new room.

We finished the makeover on Christmas Eve just a few hours before our family arrived (nothing like pushing it right to the deadline!) and it was the best feeling to have a pretty kitchen to work and entertain in.

The kitchen is truly where we spend most of our family time and while it would have been fine to wait until we tear out the whole thing, doing this mini makeover reminded us that making small improvements right now always feels worth it. And now we’re tempted to nix the big remodel and just enjoy the kitchen as it is!

SOURCES

sink | faucet | shelf brackets | cabinet knobs | cabinet pulls | bar stools | brass towel bar | chairs | pendant light | black + white striped towel | brass frames | sisal rug | tassel throw

wall + trim color: Sherwin Williams Shoji White
cabinet color: Sherwin Williams Iron Ore

I’ve linked to most of the currently available items that are seen in the kitchen. If you have any other source questions that I missed, feel free to ask in the comments.

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The finished studio!

One of the things that made us fall in love with this house (beside the property, the location, the front porch, our instant vision for updates), was the unfinished space above the garage.

Since both Ryan and I work from home, having a dedicated office space that is larger than our previous one (see it here) and slightly separate from the house was high on our house search wish list.

When we saw the 600 square feet of unfinished space with good light, plenty of head room, storage along one wall and an entrance off the garage, it was love at first sight (at least for me).

Over the past month – among the making-over of the kitchen and changing of light fixtures and unpacking of boxes – we set to work on finishing out the studio.

While we are happy DIYers, there are some jobs that are just better to hire out to the professionals. This was one of them. Maybe if we didn’t have 12 million other projects in the house going on at the same time (and if there was not massive drywall fixing to do) we could have tackled this, but our goal was to have the studio finished as soon as possible and we knew our limitations. We hired out the framing, drywall, painting, floor install and trim and could not be happier with how it turned out.

Last night I was up there doing the final cleaning before I can start moving in all of my stuff and I can’t wait!

Before it is filled with office-y things, I snapped a handful of photos to show how the space looks all finished out.

Ready to see our new studio?!

You get to the studio from the garage up a set of rough stairs. We will paint the treads and finish the walls at some point.

While we kept the doorway as it was, we reframed around it to enclose the window into the stairwell. It was a little bit of a weird space before with the window half covered by a wall and we wanted to open that up to allow for as much light as possible.

Framing out that wall also gave us a flat wall for hanging Ryan’s giant white board with storage under.

Framing in the stairs differently also gave us a space for storage to the right of the door. We’re on the hunt for a salvaged door for the storage room and will finish up the trim once the door is in.

The big dormers are such a great feature of the space.

When you come up the stairs and walk through the door, you see to the end wall with the window.

There is another dormer on this side that lets in great light (well, except for when I took photos this morning – it’s pretty dark and dreary out today).

On the far wall is another storage area that runs the whole length of the room behind that short wall.

We’ll find a little door for that space as well.

Isn’t it a great space?! We are really happy with how it turned out.

There were only a few design decisions to be made in here.

The first was the wall color. We went with Shoji White by Sherwin Williams in eggshell finish which is the same white we are using in the house. It keeps things consistent, makes touchups easy (only one can of paint!) and the warmth of the white works well for this house and property that tends to be pretty dark.

The next decision was the trim. We went with 5″ baseboard flat mdf. Easy, inexpensive, clean looking.

Our trim guy started the windows with the top and bottom pieces cut longer to frame out the vertical pieces. It was fine and a very typical way to frame windows, but it wasn’t what I had in mind. I felt terrible telling him to take it all down and start over, but what I wanted was minimal, simple, modern and the overhanging trim felt more craftsman. He thought I was crazy for just wanting straight trim but I’m so happy with it.

We opted to paint the trim the same white as the walls (Shoji White) but in semi-gloss.

Our original plan for the floors was to do DIY plywood planks and paint them glossy white. I still love that idea. When it really came down to it, what we needed were quick floors instead of ones that were time intensive and would take weeks for the paint to fully cure. We ended up going with laminate flooring in a very nice neutral color called Lakeshore Pecan. Our friends have it in their garage apartment (where we lived for six weeks before moving in here) and it looks great, doesn’t sound clicky when you walk on it and the color is really good. It also happens to be just about the cheapest laminate floor available at Home Depot, so that’s a win.

Ryan installed six can lights in the ceiling for additional lighting and the two fixtures above the dormers will be replaced with these new lights that I ordered last night.

I don’t have a solid plan for furniture yet and the garage is full of all the boxes of office stuff that needs to make its way up there, so I have some work to do this week!

Just for fun, here are the before and after shots side by side.

Ooooh, I can’t wait to start working in here!

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A little peek at our house this Christmas

I hope you had a lovely Christmas!

We have spent the past two days doing absolutely nothing and it feels amazing. Especially after the weeks of non-stop work on the house to get it ready for hosting.

bradyfire Whew! It was a marathon that turned into a sprint on those final few days.

Thankfully, my mom and dad stopped by the day before Christmas Eve and we put them straight to work. We unpacked boxes, moved things to the new studio (I can not wait to show you how it is shaping up!), hung pictures and coat hooks, made beds, put up garland, vacuumed, mopped, scrubbed and – my favorite part of all – installed the open shelves in the kitchen.

We are so excited about how the house is coming together. We are slowing making progress putting our touch in each room and it is truly transforming it.

I’ve shared a few photos on instagram and wanted to share more with you here on the blog.

I know it’s after Christmas and we’re all ready to take down the tree, clear out the garland and freshen up for the New Year, but the house looked so pretty and the sun was shining in and I just couldn’t resist snapping a few photos before our family came over on Christmas day. Enjoy the little peek into our house!

livingroom The living room went through phase one of it’s makeover with new paint on the walls, trim and ceiling. Just the paint changed this room completely (see the house when we bought it here).

I’ll talk more about this room, our vision for it and what we’ve done so far more in detail in the new year so stay tuned for more details. I will say, though, that the deep green/blue/gray on the walls (Ancestral by Behr paired with the same charcoal trim color that we used in the kitchen (Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams) is doing just what we hoped it would for the room: it’s feeling so cozy and moody in there.

fireplace sofapillows2 We put our beloved linen chesterfield sofa in the living room and layered it with favorite textiles.

*the sofa came from a shop that is no longer in business, but I’ve done a little bit of research and found that it is this one. The sofa is only available to the trade, so click around and you should be able to find a retailer near you.*

furpillow The stripe blanket was a recent purchase – it is lightweight and those corner tassels are so good. The green velvet pillow is from Crate and Barrel and comes in an assortment of pretty colors. The white goat hide pillow is available in our House + Home Shop and is even better in person.

pillows I love how the green and white on the left mixes with the blue ikat pillow (made by my mom with this fabric) and gorgeous modern leather pillow on the right. The leather pillow makes us want to add much more of that rich camel color in this room. I popped in an old Noel pillow for Christmas and will have to find a good replacement for it soon.

trayontable livingroomfire I have fireplace makeover DIY idea that I’m hoping to get to soon. But seriously, it is pretty amazing how different and updated it looks with just a new coat of paint.

cornerchair livingcorner diningtable Other than pulling off the wallpaper border, the dining room hasn’t been touched. It actually looked quite nice simply dressed with cedar garland, felt pom pom garland (no longer available from West Elm) and a runner made with wrapping paper, more greens from the backyard, white bottlebrush trees and candles in old silver cups.

diningtablecenterpiece diningroomtoliving The metal dining chairs from Restoration Hardware, doxology canvas is by Lindsay Letters, library shelf is from World Market.

The kitchen is my favorite transformation so far. Kinda crazy since we were not even planning on doing anything to the room until the big rip-it-all-out remodel we have in mind (read more about that here).

christmaskitchen I will do the official kitchen reveal with before and afters and the budget breakdown soon. I can’t wait to show you the whole thing!

Ryan and I love entertaining and we’re so thankful for this place to welcome our family and friends in to. It was a mad dash to get things put together before our family came to celebrate and now that it’s over, it was worth every ounce of energy.

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Painting over orangy-wood trim + doors

bathroomdoortrim Our home, like most that were built in the early 1990’s, has oak doors and trim throughout the house. The kind of doors and trim that are very orangy in real life. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

The doors are great quality, so those will all stay. The baseboard and door trim, however, is a bit more skimpy and ornate than we would prefer, so those will eventually be replaced.

Our long term plan is to update all of the floors – upstairs will be carpet, downstairs will be wood – at at that point, we’ll pull off all of the trim and replace it with thick, flat white baseboards and trim (like in our old house).

But in the meantime …

I’ll be honest, we never talked about painting all of the trim. But then we started our mini kitchen makeover (read about it here), and the window trim just wanted to be painted charcoal.

kitchenfaucet That led to painting the french doors and down to the base boards.

dogbowls and over to the bathroom door.

bathroomdoorsm And, actually, we kind of love it.

bathroomdoor We will still pull off the base and replace it when we do the floors, but for now having it painted this beautiful, rich Iron Ore instead of the orangy tone is making a huge impact in the space.
door So how exactly do you paint doors and trim?

If you’re me, you just do it :) Slowly, in the evenings, while watching Holiday baking shows. It’s so monotonous and mindless and delightful. But I’m a bit crazy, so whatever.

There are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to paint cabinets, doors and woodwork and I’m pretty sure I do it all ‘wrong’.

But here’s the thing: it works.

We painted the cabinets in our old house and they have held up really well for 8 years and counting.

So while you should consider all of the options for painting – like which paint type, whether to spray, roll or brush or if it is best to hire a professional, I will also say that if you hate the orangy trim in your house and you plan on taking it all out in a few years anyway (or even if you don’t!), go ahead and paint it. You will be amazed at what a difference a can of paint can make.

Here are the supplies needed:

supplies

Paint | Brush | Sandpaper | Sanding Block

The first step is gently sanding the surface of the trim and doors. This is just to take the top sheen off slightly and give the paint a bit of texture to adhere to. Just a quick hand sanding with 120 grit paper does the trick. I like to cut a sheet in half and wrap it around a foam sanding block to give me something to grip.

Next, wipe off sanding dust and tape edges. I hate this part, but it makes it easier in the longrun.

For our trim and doors, I’m using Behr Marquee Semi Gloss Enamel paint in Iron Ore (a Sherwin Williams color). If you are planning on keeping your trim longterm, you might want to upgrade the paint. Or don’t. Your choice. We went with the top quality at Home Depot on our kitchen cabinets and the trim and doors and have been very happy with the results.

I just brush it on going with the grain of the wood using a 1 1/2″ angled brush. The one I use was about $10, so definitely nothing fancy, but also not the cheapest brush you can buy.

brush I did two coats of paint (no primer) and it covered perfectly. As you can see below, the brush marks are slightly visible, but as long as you brush with the grain of the wood and use smooth strokes, it blends in well.

doorwreath It has been fun to start transforming our house to look a bit more modern and updated, while sticking to the classic, slightly cottagy feel. My goal is to keep the trim and door painting going into the entry and living room and maybe (maybe?!) I’ll have it done before our family arrives on Christmas day.

So, my friends, that is how I am painting the trim and doors in our house.

I will reiterate, if you have the same orangy wood trim and it drives you crazy, go ahead, choose a paint color and paint it. Seriously. It will give your home an instant update. Will you look back in 20 years and wonder why you painted over perfectly good wood trim? Maybe. But I don’t know. There is just something compelling about enjoying your home today and transforming it into your style. I’m all for it.

Don’t forget to follow along in instagram for daily updates!

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Remodeling the third floor

One of the things that made us fall in love with our new house was the third floor.

From the listing photos, we just figured the third floor was a tiny, sloped room that was more attic than usable space. We were so pleasantly surprised when we walked through the house for the first time and realized that it was much, much bigger than we expected.

Let me remind you what the space looked like when we bought the house:

thirdfloorstairs With the stairwell in the center, the room stretched out identically on either side with two big windows on the outside walls.  thirdfloor Our thought right away was to turn one side into a bedroom for our oldest son and use the other side as a playroom/hangout room. The space is bright and open with plenty of headroom even with the sloped ceiling and of course our almost-teenager was excited to have his own retreat.

First up was framing in the walls. The entrance to the room is on the right side of the stairwell and we framed in a closet on the other side of the stairs.

framing-walls Once the sheetrock was up things started taking shape.

wallstextured intoroom doors The funny thing about adding walls is that it actually feels like the third floor is more usable. All that open space made it hard to figure out how to maximize the area. Now, with a bedroom, closet and the hangout area walled off, the rooms feel more finished and we’re excited to make them functional.

Here is the space before and after side-by-side:

beforeafterthirdfloor beforeafterethansroom With the walls now up, it was time to make some design decisions. Our oldest son is the cutest and was very in to creating a design board.

His wishes for his room: snowy, cozy, woodsy, mountains, peaceful, calm colors, red, hammock swing and lots of books.

He spent some time on pinterest, found a few items he liked and we put those ideas (with a few of my picks!) into a design board.

ethansroom I love creating these boards to help us pull together the vision for a room, see how things work together and get a general idea for items that might work in the room. Once it comes down to buying items and putting the room all together, I might stray from the board a little bit, but it is always helpful to get the overall feel before making purchases.

With a design pinned down, our first step was painting the walls.

The walls are currently an off-white and while it makes the space feel bright, when you look up close, the walls are super dingy. That’s what happens with white walls in kid spaces.

We did all of our walls in our old house white and while I loved it, the upstairs hallways where the kids walked through/played in were not looking so fresh only a few months after the paint was done.

In this space, even though I would prefer white walls, I knew it was not the right practical choice for this kid space.

Instead of white, we chose to paint the walls Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore.

Revere Pewter is the most perfect light warm gray. I’ve used in in a handful of rooms and loved it every time.

I had the paint color matched at Home Depot (because it is convenient, less expensive and quite honestly, I don’t notice a drastic difference between BM and Behr top quality) on Friday and opened up a can to get started on Saturday morning.

paintsamples The first strokes went on and it didn’t feel like the right color. It was so dark, very much gray and not warm at all.

Ryan and I went round and round until we finally just decided that it was fine. So my girlfriend stopped by, I put her to work and we made quick progress in the room.

wallpaint And then this happened:

mixeduppaint The can of paint was about halfway gone when I poured more into the tray. Erica loaded up her roller, rolled it on the wall and gasped. Suddenly the color was completely different.

Instead of being cold, dark gray, it was dirty beige.

UGH!

I didn’t stir the paint.

In my defense, I figured the mechanical shaking when the paint was mixed less than 24 hours earlier would have been enough. I never expected that it would have completely separated so quickly.

But, it did.

And it totally explained why those first brush strokes just didn’t look like the same Revere Pewter I was used to. All of the gray was at the top while all of the warm beige had fallen to the bottom. Boo.

We closed up the messed up paint, opened up a fresh can and finished the first coat. I went up yesterday afternoon and the walls are looking very splotchy :) Hopefully a second coat of FULLY MIXED paint will cover right over it and we’ll be good to go.

So lesson of the day … don’t forget to stir your paint.

We are hoping to get the paint finished, closet built out, trim up and light fixture switch out this week. I’ll keep you posted!

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Kitchen Mini Makeover | Design Direction + Progress

We didn’t mean to do a kitchen makeover. Really, we didn’t.

kitchendesign But on the first night, while I was in another room, I heard Ryan’s drill and I knew: those cabinets were coming down.

Let me back up for a minute and remind you of what the kitchen looked like on the day we closed:

kitchen kitchenisland kitchentowindows From the moment we first saw the house, we knew the kitchen/eating space wouldn’t stay this way. It took a bit of creativity and lots of sketching before we had a pretty good plan in place.

What is that plan, you might ask? I’ll spare you exact details but will say it involves tearing everything out, removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room, taking out the french doors, aligning the whole kitchen along the back wall, creating a giant island, replacing all the floors and adding in as much natural light as possible.

Needless to say, this project is not on the immediate horizon. We both decided we would live with the perfectly fine (if slightly dated and very orange) kitchen until we begin the big remodel.

And then the drill came out (on the first night! We are crazy like that!) and Kitchen Makeover Phase One began.

kitchenmakeoverphaseone

CABINETS

The first problem in the kitchen were those bulky upper cabinets. This house is pretty dark and the cabinets were not helping, so down those came.

I painted the cabinets in our old house and was very happy with how they turned out so we decided to do the same in this kitchen for the lower cabinets. My default for cabinets is always white, but in this house, white didn’t feel right.

Because we have to work with the dark tile floor and the speckled black and white granite tile, we felt like dark cabinets would be best to connect the floor and counters and minimize the contrast. If we went white, I could imagine it would feel pretty disjointed between the white walls, dark counters, white cabinets, dark floors. Grounding the bottom portion of the kitchen seemed like the way to go. Plus, the direction we’re trying to take this house is more handsome (to balance all the sweetness of the dormers and cottage-y features) and a rich charcoal was a great way to accomplish this.

I tried three sample colors for the cabinets and decided on Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams.

SIDE NOTE: I had the paint color matched at Home Depot in their highest quality in semi-gloss. Keep in mind that all of this will be replaced when we do the big kitchen remodel and so we’re doing our best to keep costs at a minimum. Honestly, I’ve been quite happy with the quality of paint.

With the gray floor, cold granite and charcoal cabinets, we’re adding a bit of warmth with brass hardware. I found brass cup pulls and knobs on sale from the Martha Stewart line and they will work perfectly in the kitchen.

LIGHTING

There was also an issue with lighting.

A massive, old fluorescent light hung over the island that was cased in more wood and felt very heavy. The can lights were scattered randomly and had black inner rings and off-white plates that read dirty and dark. The double pendants over the eating area were off-center and for some reason having two felt off.

Ryan and a friend decided on a whim one night to add a few more recessed lights and to fix the placement of others so that they all lined up on a grid. The pendants came down, one hole will be patched up and the other was replaced with a leftover pendant light from our old house. It is amazing how much brighter it feels in the kitchen now with the extra cans and the clean white of the metal, rather than the off-white/black combo that was previously used.

lightsreplaced Once the upper cabinets came down we realized how dark the walls were painted and those got a coat of white paint to freshen up the space. You can see the contrast of the previous gray wall color on the left side of the beam. We will paint out that terrible beam and the ceiling in white once the holes are patched.

TRIM

All of the window, baseboard, doors and trim in the house is the orangy-wood that was popular in 1992. Many of you have asked if we’re leaving it (no), painting it (possibly) or replacing it (most likely).

Again, since everything will eventually be torn out of the kitchen we are using what we already have and decided to paint the trim and doors. My default for trim is white and so I grabbed a can of trim paint from our old house and figured it would work perfectly for the kitchen.

It looked terrible.

Perhaps it was the wrong white? Perhaps it just needed another coat? Perhaps. But both Ryan and I agreed that white was not the look we were going for.

One day, while I was out and about, Ryan texted me with a “don’t hate me, but …” message and sent a photo of the window trim half painted in the dark cabinet color. I loved it! So did he. So dark trim and doors it is in the kitchen. At least for now. Or maybe for always and throughout the house because we really do like how it looks.

SINK + FAUCET

I didn’t realize the sink was a problem until we moved in and starting using the kitchen. While it is large (33″ x 22″), the split basin and off centered faucet made it difficult to wash dishes. We had a single-basin sink in our old house and I am forever and always a fan. I love being able to fit a cookie sheet or my gigantic cutting board into the sink to wash it and that wasn’t possible with this sink and faucet combination.

oldsink Since we’re trying to keep this makeover low-cost, we opted for a stainless steel sink which are typically less expensive than porcelain or enamel/cast iron versions. The one we chose is huge, square, so minimal and gorgeous.

Fun story about the faucet: I was on my computer searching on one website, Ryan was on his computer searching on another site. I said, “ooh, I like this one“, turned to him and he had just clicked on the same one. It was faucet-destiny.

Okay, ready for some progress shots?!

Here’s how the kitchen looks today:

eating kitchenback kitchenfaucet kitchenisland kitchensink Hopefully this week I’ll get going on painting cabinets and finishing up the rest of the trim. We’re still on the hunt for the perfect wood to use for open shelves and thinking through a few different art options to bring in some warmth.

So far, this little makeover is making me so happy and feels absolutely worth the time, money and effort.

Now that I really think through it, it makes total sense for us to make a few changes to this most-used space in our home. Sure, we could just wait until we do the big remodel but I don’t always believe in that. We live in our homes and sometimes making incremental changes to make a space into something you can use and enjoy now is just as valuable as saving and planning and doing it all at once later. I want this home to feel like us and mini-makeovers might be just the way to get there.

SOURCES

pendant light | single basin sink | faucet | brass knobs | brass cup pulls | dish towel (coming to my new shop next week!) | rug | chairs | barstools

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Our house on the market (and off!)

Our old house, which we’ve lived in and loved for 10 years went on the market.

And then last week, we got an offer, accepted it and now it’s off the market. Hooray!

We are beyond thankful that the right family found it, fell in love with it and made an offer. The deal isn’t done, done until the closing date, but we’re feeling good about it.

I thought it would be fun to share the listing photos – the last official photos taken in this very regularly photographed home :)

You’ll notice a few differences between the photos you usually see of our house and what follows.

  1. When listing a house, it’s all about staging, not decorating. Believe me, it was hard for me to take everything that has our personality out of the house and go so minimal. But it looks clean and like a blank slate ready for a new family and that is the point when trying to sell a house.
  2. The photographer turned on all the lights and processed differently than is typical on the blog or in a magazine. It isn’t necessarily my style and yet I absolutely recommend hiring a real estate photographer to take photos of your house if you are selling. People shop online and photos are everything.

Okay! Here is our beloved ‘old’ house:

frontofhouse entry
fireplace living topliving livingtokitchen kitchen kitchentodining sink

eating dining littlebath office mud master bathroom boysroom ethansroom audreys-room kidsbath laundry bonus backyard

Ah, sweet house. It has been so good to us. A place where we raised our babies, made such good friends, hosted countless parties, invited friends to live with us and was the perfect builder-grade canvas for us to add our style.

RELATED POSTS

For more on all of the house projects and before + afters seen in our home, try these posts:

Our House: Then + Now

Kitchen Remodel

Fireplace Makeover

Wood Floors + White Paint

Audrey’s Classically Cute Bedroom

Laundry Room Makeover

The Boys’ Room

Master Bathroom Mini Makeover

The Hanging Window in the entry

Painted Wallpaper in the office

Removable Wallpaper in the Hallway

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