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The Chickens + their backyard coop

You may remember that we dove headfirst into the country life and bought baby chicks this spring. Well, I’m happy to report that those sweet little fluffy chicks have grown into full-size, egg-laying hens.

This is our first go at raising chickens and while we don’t know all there is to know, perhaps you’d like to hear a bit more about how things are going and you’d like to see their coop?

Oh, good. Because that’s what this post is all about :)

For the first 6ish weeks, the chicks lived in our garage under a heat lamp in a big galvanized bin (which is now used as the kids’ lego bin on the third floor). Our plan was to design and build a chicken coop, but while walking through Costco, we spotted a pre-made coop and decided to go the easy route and brought it home. Here’s what it looks like in the product image:

It is a perfectly fine coop, but needed a few alterations to work for our chickens. We painted it white, reinforced the base and sides (it’s not the sturdiest right out of the box) and added an extension of the bottom ‘run’ to accommodate our six chickens. With those simple changes, it works great and was a much easier project than if we built from scratch.

You know what the hardest part of putting it together was?

The foundation.

It’s a good idea to have fencing material around the sides and top to keep predators out, but the underside is equally important. We don’t want rodents, coyotes or raccoons digging under the coop, so Ryan set us up with a Fort Knox worthy barrier.

We started by clearing a spot in our backyard for the chickens to live. Our yard is wooded around the perimeter and so it took a bit of work to clear out a few trees, underbrush and one million roots.

Once we had our spot cleared, we measured out the finished size of the coop and dug a perimeter about 12 inches down to fill with cinderblocks. This will prevent anything from digging down and getting up under the coop.

After the cinderblocks were in and level, we added metal grating and large cement pavers to create a foundation.
And then the coop was set on top.

Ryan added a back section for added space and put in a lift-up top so we can change the food and water and access the lower pen.

I love the idea of growing flowers or vegetables in the top garden box (like shown in the product image), but that didn’t happen this spring. We also plan to put in some shrubs and ground cover around the chicken coop to add back some green. That should help with how sparse it looks now!

The chickens are pretty easy. I like to let them out in the morning to wander around the yard, pecking at the grass, eating bugs and seeds and whatever they can find, and then around dusk they find their way back up into their sleeping quarters.

Usually we go out after they are in their coop to close and lock the door, but one night a few weeks ago we did not. They were fine all night long until they wandered out early in the morning and a coyote ran off with one of the chickens. Poor Nugget made a nice breakfast for that mean coyote. Surprisingly, the kids did okay with the loss of Nugget and it reminded us to make sure we go out each night to close up the coop.

So far, we have two chickens who are laying every day. We’re pretty sure the two black and white spotted ones are the layers, based on the fact that they have the most developed top red floppy things on their heads (apparently, that is an indication that they are developed enough to lay eggs).

Our chickens LOVE when we feed them scraps of food – especially fruit. It’s ridiculously entertaining to watch them devour a watermelon or leftovers from dinner and squawk at each other when one gets in the way.

Lately, they’ve been hanging out by the back door waiting for us …

We’re still learning about raising backyard chickens, but so far things have gone fairly well. Our friends just gifted us this darling book to help us learn more about chickens and gardening:

If you’re looking for a resource on homesteading, you’ll adore this book (and the blog!). I can’t wait to dig in and learn more about how we can use our property to grow more of our family’s food.

I sound like such a country girl. And maybe I am :)

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Phase One of the Family Room Makeover + best painting tips

I’ve shared this view of our most lived-in room of the house a handful of times:

But what I haven’t shared are the other sides:

We call this room the Family Room which sits off the kitchen and is the place where we do most of our hanging out. We chose the cushiest, deepest, most comfortable sectional (more about it here) for the corner to fit our whole family for movies and lounging. It has not disappointed.

What does feel pretty meh is the rest of the room. It is the one room besides our master bathroom and the kids’ bathroom that we have not yet touched in the house … until now.

Before I got started, I took a quick video for you:

So like I mentioned in the video, we have bigger plans for the room – think wood floors, new wider baseboards and window trim (like we did upstairs), planked walls or ceiling and a wall of builtins along the wall that currently houses the tv. The problem with our big plans is in order to do one part, it requires another part to be done at the same time. It’s like a massive chain of projects and we just don’t have the time, budget or finished plan totally figured out quite yet.

In the meantime, we’re giving it a PHASE ONE makeover, like we’ve done with almost every other room in the house.

What’s a phase one makeover? Well, I say it’s just doing the small things that don’t require much time, money or tearing out of walls. Things like paint, changing out lights or hardware, improving upon what you already have.

For the family room, phase one looks like fresh paint on the walls and trim, replacing the can lights with lower-profile white ones, taking down the ceiling fan and adding a new light fixture, removing the sconces and switching out some furniture.

First up on that list was paint.

After posting an in-process painting picture to instagram, a sweet reader said this:

“Can you (or have you already) do a post on tips for painting interiors? We’re getting ready to tackle our house and we both literally sat and looked at each other and said, “sooooo just paint…?”

That one made me smile. And my answer is basically, yes. Just paint.

But with a few pointers.

First, choose your paint. For walls I prefer a slight sheen (called eggshell or satin, depending on the brand), ceilings in flat and trim in semi-gloss.

We are carrying on with the same white we’ve used in most of the rooms and hallways in the house – Shoji White by Sherwin Williams. For more tips on choose a white paint, read this post about our old house and this one from the new house.

Then, grab your supplies. You’ll typically want an angled brush for cutting in the edges (like this), a roller and tray and painter’s tape.

Next, prep the space. We pulled all of the furniture to the center of the room and covered with thick plastic. If you’re taping off areas where you don’t want paint, now is the time to do it.

Finally, start painting! If you have two people, have one cut in the edges and the other follow behind with the roller for the main surface of the walls. If you’re painting solo, I usually cut everything in and then move to the roller.

We will eventually move the tv to a different wall, but for now it will stay – the cable is on that wall and it just felt easier to leave it for now :)

Once the walls had two coats and time to dry overnight, I went to work on the trim.

We painted the trim in the kitchen with the same deep charcoal as the cabinets and have just continued that downstairs – at least for now. Like I mentioned before, when we put in hardwoods we’ll switch out the baseboards and the window trim (just like we did upstairs) and it will go white, but in the meantime it feels fun to try something a little different with the dark trim.

For the trim, I did it just the same as with the rest of the downstairs trim (read my full post about painting out orangy-wood trim and doors here). I taped off inside and outside the windows as well as above the trim on the wall and on the edge of the carpet. So much tape!

I actually don’t like painter’s tape – it always, always bleeds. Sure, I could try the whole paint the background color first trick, but that seems so time intensive. So instead, I just tape it off, press firmly, then paint the trim.

When the tape comes off (after the second coat, but while still wet-ish), there are always areas where the paint bleeds under.

I’ve just learned to deal with it and I go back over with a tiny artists brush and wall paint to fix the smudges. It takes precision and a bit of time, but it’s not terrible. Just mildly annoying.

But, hey! Look how pretty that trim looks now!

When we first painted the kitchen window trim it felt like we put eyeliner on the windows. Suddenly they became focal points and directed your vision to outside, which is truly so beautiful. I am typically a fan of simple white trim, but this dark is quite eye-catching.

There is still one more patch of paint way up high to finish, then we’ll switch out the light fixtures (can’t wait to share what we’re doing!) and move some furniture around.

So far, just having the walls freshly painted and trim that striking charcoal has really updated the room. All for a few days of painting and about $100 in supplies. Not bad!

If you’re debating about whether or not to paint a room or paint out your trim, do it! It truly makes such a big difference.

I’ll keep you posted as we continue to work on Phase One of the Family Room Makeover.

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A quick photo tour of the yard + porch

We have now been in our house for all four seasons. As we have been working on the inside of the house, we have done very little to the exterior. I think part of us wanted to wait until we experienced the house in each season – to see how the sun comes through the trees before we thin them, to find out what plants pop up before we move things around, to live in the yard and front porch and back patio before we decide how to update them.

Now that summer is here, the plants have grown in, trees are fully leafed out and the weather is perfect for outdoor living, we’re getting excited to spend more time outside and make a few changes.

To be completely fair, the original owners of the house passed on a pretty beautiful place. The house is darling and landscape is really nice. Most of the plants and trees are 15-20 years old, which means they are full and substantial and fill the gardens nicely. So far, we have done nothing more than trim up a few branches and remove the back pergola (which was blocking light into the house).

It has probably been a few years since any major pruning and mulching have taken place in the yard, so that is what I’m looking forward to doing in the next few weeks. There are a couple of bare spots where I’ll fill in with low shrubs around the front walk and the poor soil is quite compact. Adding nutrient-rich mulch will give those pretty plants a boost.

The boxwoods leading to the front porch are big and a bit misshapen. We couldn’t figure out what happened to that middle one with the big sink-hole in the center until we watched a video the boys were making and saw one of them fall right into it. I’m not sure if it is salvageable – we may need to cut it way back? Boxwoods take forever to grow, so I’m hesitant to mess anything up.

The front porch hasn’t had much use, but now that the summer weather is here, it is proving to be a lovely space to sit. The kids like to swing on the porch swing and for Father’s Day, we bought Ryan two rocking chairs (here’s the link).

We have some work to do on the front porch: new front door, fix the wrapped posts, add a railing, repaint the decking, update the exterior lighting. At some point, we’ll remove the top arched windows and push the rectangular windows up, fix the siding and paint the house white.

One of my favorite views of the house is of the garage with dormers. The previous owners left window boxes with miniature boxwoods and I’ve added to them this summer with some of my favorites: sweet potato vine, creeping jenny and white bacopa.

Beyond the garage is the little chicken coop, set back in the woods.

Each morning, we let the chickens out and they roam the yard all day. They are funny birds who stay together in a little pack and wander about.

They haven’t started laying eggs yet, but should any day now.

Last week, Ryan hung a hammock out under a canopy of trees. It has been the coveted spot around here.

Every day, I catch myself feeling so grateful for this gorgeous retreat. We are surrounded by lush green, with plenty of room to explore, run around, throw the ball for the dog, lay out in the sun. What a treat to look out our windows at such a pretty yard and have such privacy.

Sure, there is a list of projects that must be done, and an even longer one with things we’d like to do, but we truly do love it here!

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Updates to the Studio just in time for summer

The last time I showed you the studio, the desks had just been finished and it was styled with hints of pink for spring.

Since then, I have added a few new pieces of furniture and switched out the pink for summery blues so it felt like a good time to do an updated studio tour.

Classic Summer Studio Tour 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. When we bought the house last fall, this room was just an unfinished storage area above the garage. We decided it would be the perfect spot for a home office and creative studio.

It is such a treat to have this big, bright room as an extension of the house. I am up here everyday either working or doing a barre workout (more on that soon), and now that there is a big work table in here, it will be used even more.

Summer Studio Tour The big work table is actually our dining table (seen here in our old dining room). We bought it over 10 years ago at the Restoration Hardware outlet store and I still love its classic style. Instead of using the table in the formal dining room in the house, we decided we really didn’t need it there and we have plans to remove the wall separating the dining and kitchen, so the table won’t be needed once that happens. It was not an easy task to move this massive, heavy table up the skinny staircase, but we did it and it’s such a nice addition to the studio.

Summer Studio desk space The table sat up in the studio for a couple of months without any seating while I figured out what I wanted. Individual chairs would have been the obvious choice. It just seemed like having 10 extra chairs would feel really busy in room that already has a lot going on in it.

Instead, I scoured the internet for inexpensive, simple benches that could hold two people comfortably and fit the width of the table.

summer studio tour work table and benches After lots of searching, I ended up ordering four upholstered benches from Target during a sale (you can also find them here for a great deal). I wasn’t totally sold on the nailhead trim (maybe too busy with everything else?) but I planned on making simple slipcovers to make for easy washing anyway, so I went ahead and bought them. They arrived over Memorial Day weekend, I talked my 9 year old into helping me put them together and now that they’re in, I’m so happy with how they look, feel and function.

work table and benches Perhaps my favorite thing about the benches is that they can be pushed in under the table to keep the floor open and visually disappear.

built in desks The rug is another recent addition. Originally, I had my eye on this plaid flatweave rug from Rejuvenation. I just didn’t have room in our budget to spend $799 on a rug (FYI, the rug is now on major clearance and had I known, maybe I would have waited a little longer before choosing a different rug!).

studio work space and desks desk | desktop | pulls | chair | benches | blanket | rug

Instead, I found this cotton rug from Home Depot and waited for it to go on sale. The size of this one is a little bigger than the average 8×10 and fits under the table perfectly. It is a flatweave with stamped design. I didn’t use a rug pad under because the table holds it down just fine, but it is recommended, so keep that in mind if you order for your home.

summer studio tour computer desk shelves  | blue vaseribbon | linen files | stapler + tape | chair | throw | lamp

To add in a summery feel, the spring pink accessories were put away and switched out for pretty blues.

built out studio space for summer This is one reason I like decorating with neutrals so much; it makes decorating for the seasons so easy.

Starting with a simple palette of white, natural wood, brass and those handsome leather chairs means I can switch out a throw blanket, add a vase or candle, a few notecards and artwork and change the feel of space.

summer styled shelves shelves | linen file box | basket | Q&A book | She Reads Truth

summer styled work desk I’m so fickle about color and can’t commit to living with any one color for longer than a few months, so keeping things mainly neutral with just a few touches of color keeps me feeling creative.

desk and shelf summer styled details computer on desk summer flowers art and peonies Not much has changed on the other side of the room. The reading area is a favorite spot with that sweet light, cozy chair and bright natural light. There are window boxes right outside each dormer window that add extra cottage charm.

studio reading area lightchair | table | rug | pillow | floor lamp

I still have a few more projects to complete over on this side – a diy white board and extra storage. We’re hoping to finish up those in the next week or so and you know I’ll share details along the way :)

studio plant string of pearls My #plantlady obsession is going strong in the studio. Our house does not get great natural light, but the studio does, so the plants seem to thrive up here.

Perhaps my favorite summery touch is this little wooden bowl I bought in Rwanda holding a bit of stolen sand from my favorite beach in Seaside, Florida.

sand in bowl After taking all of the photos, I had a few minutes to spare before the kids came home from school and filmed a quick studio video tour. Now, fair warning, I talk with my hands and was only holding the camera with one hand while the other was flying about. Therefore, the video is a bit shaky. But it shows how the room works together AND you get to see all the unfinished, messy parts that don’t make it into photos :)

I hope you enjoyed the tour!

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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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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!


If your kitchen is feeling dated and doesn’t reflect your style (but you are not quite ready for a full remodel), I have six suggestions for how you can make those updates without spending a fortune.


Click the image (or RIGHT HERE) to get the guide! I hope it will be extra helpful to you as you think about updating your kitchen.

KITCHEN SOURCES

sink | faucet | shelf brackets | cabinet knobs | cabinet pulls | bar stools | brass towel bar (similar)| 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

 

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