master bedroom makeover

Every night for about 6 weeks we slept in our bed surrounded very closely by our dressers. Like I mentioned in my last post, I couldn’t seem to get the mail let alone paint a whole room a couple months ago so it took me way longer than it should have to finish our bedroom. I wouldn’t say it’s completely finished now but man o’ man is it way better than before. Red trim and flower border, be gone!

Here’s what came with the house: floral wallpaper and blood red trim.

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Once the wallpaper was down, I painted the walls with two coats of a Valspar Ultra Paint + Primer that I found on the sale rack in Lowe’s. The trim took a lot longer since it was red to begin with. If I remember correctly I did two coats of oil-based primer and two coats of Olympic semi-gloss white paint.

Tip: To save myself some time I used an angled brush with a short handle to do all of the edges. I only needed tape on the floors to prevent anything from getting on the wood. It would have taken me so much longer if I had taped the whole room too. Get this brush and a steady hand, your patience with thank you.

Six coats and many hours later it was done.

My favorite part is decorating so once the walls were dry, I got to it.

The first thing I did was hang the curtains. The sellers actually left these hanging down in the den. In the future I’d like to sew some big blackout curtains but for now these white curtains are great. They let the light filter in nicely during the day and give us enough privacy at night.

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I already had my bedding. Instead of buying a matchy matchy bed set like I would normally do, about a year ago I went to HomeGoods with my mom and pieced together these colors and textures. The sea foam green quilt is a nice wavy pattern that I thought contrasted well with the gray geometric shams. I added the little accent pillow for more contrast, a different texture, and a little glam. 🙂

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The art above the bed is a collection of random pieces I had up in the attic. To balance out the dark furniture in the room I used lots of different frames. I’ve got a photographic print that my photography teacher gave me, one of our wedding photos, and two paintings I did in grad school. I love seeing them and remembering those moments in time.

Oh and I really just eye-balled the layout. I had a picture in my head so I arranged the pieces on the bed to see if it would work first. Then I mentally measured where the center of the grouping was (on the left side of the big, wood frame) and centered that above the bed. Then I hung the last three pieces about 2 inches from the middle frame.

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Randomly I remembered that I had an old craigslist rocking chair up in the attic so I brought that down to use up an awkward corner of the room. I don’t use it to sit in really but it’s a nice place to lay out my clothes for the next day.

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And last but not least I give you Belle’s fancy new bed oh and some good storage. The lady cries at night so we moved her to our room to shut her up. 🙂 The basket underneath the bedside table is one of two that I found thrifting one day. It holds my iPad charger, old magazines, and my wrinkle release spray.

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It’s amazing what a little (or a lot) of paint and a few decor items can do!! It’s sooo nice to walk into this room everyday. I love it.

Future fixes: New rug (this one is leftover from the seller), paint the basket, paint the lamp and give it a new shade, new lighting on the ceiling, new curtains, and other stuff I’ve probably forgotten.

Nothing like a semi-completed room to give you that motivation you need to tackle your next project! Onto lots of future that needs refinishing. I really am pumped though! I’ve got lots of ideas brewing.

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bamboo floors and decor decisions

Al finished up our new floors on Saturday. There are a couple projects left like caulking and gluing down the trim around the fireplace as well as cutting the doors in the hallway so they’ll close but for now he’s taking a much needed break! Nothing like finishing 6 hours of physical work only to run 16 miles in training the next day.

Let’s ooh and aah over his work, shall we? You can take a look back at this post to see how the floors used to be.

Here they are now.

So much nicer! I now don’t feel the need to walk on my tippy toes when I’m down here in the lower level of the house. The old linoleum used to gross me out for some reason.

I found this runner for $50 at Capel’s on Broad Street. I check there often for sales and finally lucked out. It’s a baby blue which wasn’t one of the colors I planned on buying but at that price for such a good quality I decided I’d, as Tim says, ‘Make it work!’. I figure I have a lot of pastel colors in the house so it’ll match somehow.

The flooring is a floating bamboo from Lumber Liquidators. It’s got a great texture and variety in color.

With the floors done, I had a big urge this morning to play with the space.

A couple of decor items have changed since I last took progress photos of the room. The main big item is the new couch! It’s the ‘Cameron‘ from Crate and Barrel. We went ahead and splurged since the last couch we bought for cheap barely lasted 2 years. We wanted one that would last for a long, long time. The other change is the rainbow reversible rug that my MIL bought us when she visited in July. I love me some bright color and just had to have it.

But after taking the initial photo above, I thought the back of the rug which is a toned down version of the bright side might look better so I flipped it over.

I was right or so I think! It still shows all the colorful thread but it didn’t seem to compete with the green walls as much.

On to the next item of business.

We originally bought the ottoman to match the old couch. It contrasted the light tan fabric of the piece but now it competes with the dark grey of the new couch so I did another switch.

Our little entry bench that holds our shoes and doggy bags is actually a coffee table. Another improvement! Not as bulky and a different texture than the couch.

By this time in the process I was sweating and laughing at myself… I had another idea. The pale yellow carpet from the upstairs living room might look even better down in the den! I rolled up the two carpets and made the switch. Oh and I changed the lampshade to white thinking I’d probably have to change the pillow colors as well if I were to keep the yellow carpet. Sheesh.

For now, I’ve got the yellow carpet and the ottoman in the space. We’ll have to find a new bench to hold our shoes before I officially make the switch.

As for the carpet situation, we need to cover more of our new floors so the dogs don’t slip and slide. I was thinking of buying a couple of sisal rugs (like this one) and laying them side by side to form one giant rug. I’ve seen it done a couple times on decor blogs lately.

Knowing that, all that rug moving was probably useless but it was fun to see! Keeping my camera in the same spot while changing out the items really helped me visualize the differences. I could easily flip back and forth between ideas.

At least I decided on one thing. That I want to use the coffee table instead of the ottoman! Phew.

Feel free to send Al lots of compliments on the floors. I’ll forward them to him so he gets embarrassed. Right Al? 🙂

Do you ever have that itch to start rearranging? I’ve moved our entire (very heavy!) bedroom set by myself before because I just knew a different way would work and surprisingly it did.

floors and walls

It’s been a couple weeks since I talked about the house. Al and I needed a little break from weekends filled with Lowe’s trips and physical labor. Now that we’re a bit refreshed, we’ve both started on new projects.

Way back in February I wrote a post about a DIY privacy window. I had to paint the crazy red trim as well as the window. Finally, this past weekend, I had the urge to paint the rest of the red trim as well as the walls.

Since that last window project, we’ve put in all new energy-efficient windows throughout the whole house so I won’t have to paint the entire window this time around. <- I’m so glad!

This weekend, all I did was prep the room for painting.

Do you know how difficult it is to take border wallpaper down?! In the beginning I didn’t score the paper enough so the pieces coming off were tiny. I wanted to cry.

I finally got a better system down and yelled out things like, ‘Yeah baby!’ or ‘Aww yeeeah!’ when I got a big piece to come off. Note that I had no audience to hear my cheers. It’s the little things in life.

After about 5 total hours of removing wall paper, I spackled all the holes and wiped down the walls.

Do you see the difference in the wall color that was behind the paper and the wall below it? That’s after I wiped down the walls! Nasty.

I don’t have any more progress for my project but I do have the paint already!

If you’re a cheapo like me, you regularly check the sale sections in whatever store you happen to be in… just in case. At Lowe’s for me these sections include rugs, gardening, and painting. In the painting department sometimes they have a shelf full of mistakes and returned gallons so I almost always check to see if they have any colors that I’d like.

On Friday I lucked out big time with a neutral light gray. A paint & primer combo for 5 bucks!

I’m hoping to work on painting everything this week so we can actually open our dressers drawers again. All the furniture is squished in the middle of the room. 🙂

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Unlike my small progress, Al has done a ton of  backbreaking work! He is in the middle of installing bamboo floors in the lower level of the house which includes the office/dog room, a hallway, and the big den.

The rest of the house has woods floors while this lower level has linoleum wood grain tiles so we wanted to update the area to make it more cohesive.

We chose bamboo because it’s very durable and ‘greener’ than regular woods floors. Compared to wood it grows much faster because bamboo is a grass not a wood. It also reaches maturity in 5 years and when harvested the root source is left in tack so the bamboo can grow back. (source)

It’s also about the same price as regular wood floors so it was an easy choice for me!

At the moment, Al has finished the office and the hallway. Next weekend he hopes to complete the den.

Then it’s on to wood putty and more painting. If we ever finish painting this house, it’ll be a miracle!

Check back next week for what I hope is a recap and ‘after’ photos of both projects!

Have you ever laid your own floors? It’s tough! I’m so proud of Al for sticking with it.

an end to the summer season

The end of the summer means a lot of different things to me but right now I’m thinking about my garden. My summer crop is growing crazy still because I planted everything late but I’m already supposed to have my winter crop in! I don’t think it matters much as long as I get it in soon, like next weekend soon.

I learned a ton from my first summer season. Even will all the mistakes learning experiences, I had a pretty great crop. I’m hoping that means my winter garden will be just as good if not better!

If you haven’t read any of the garden posts yet, here a recap. -> I started off with most of my plants in the greenhouse where they struggled from the lack of light. I then moved the dying plants to a spot on the side of my house. I knew they still wouldn’t get the 8 hours or more of sun that they needed but I was hopeful!  And finally when I realized they weren’t dying (!), I spiffed up the outdoor garden with supports, mulch, and a drip system.

With all that progress, I got a lot in return.

I have 5 tomatoes plants which have given me well over 100 little tomatoes and counting. At one point I got over 50 in one week! I’ve used this recipe three times now. I’ve even experimented! I love a sweet sauce so I skipped the garlic, added two green peppers from the garden, and two tablespoons of sugar. It’s so good!

A couple days ago I found a behemoth. Look at this giant zucchini! You would have thought I won the lottery by the way I was dancing around with my ‘trophy’.

I’d only seen one other rotted zucchini before this one so I didn’t think I’d be getting anything edible. I was collecting tomatoes for sauce when I spotted it.

I’ve heard that they can get too tough and ‘seedy’ when they get too big but I sliced up half of it and made zucchini crisps. Cheesy and delicious.

With all this great crop, I still have some issues that I need to figure out. My peppers have a bug problem. I’ve been able to rescue some but the plants look pretty sad. I haven’t done anything to prevent bugs so I need to do a little research for my winter crop.

You can see in the photo below that some of the leaves are eaten away. Meh, I don’t like bugs!

I also still have that lack of sunlight problem. Look at what this tomato plant did! It grew up and over the fence all the way to the ground on the other side looking for sun. Poor thing.

I know the winter vegetables don’t need as much sunlight so hopefully it won’t be a problem this time around.

As you can see from the photos above and below even though they’re still producing, the tomato and bean plants are ready to go. I was hesitant a month ago to rip them up because they were still going strong but now that they’re a bit weathered so I know it’s time for new, winter vegetables.

This coming weekend I’m hoping to add in some broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens.

Tending to my garden is so fun to me. I’m learning a lot which I love and I get food in return! Such a great hobby. I’m excited to try new recipes with the crop too! I’m thinking soup and more soup. 🙂

What are you growing in your winter garden?

artwork in the bathroom

Wow, it’s been a long time since I wrote about the second update to our guest bathroom! We’ve done a couple things since then.

Now that I had my lighting painted turquoise, my next step was artwork. I went to my stash and picked out anything with similar colors. The following photos are a couple options. I first thought these splatter paintings would go well because they somewhat matched the room colors but I realized it was too busy for the clean look I was going for.

Then I debated on this piece because of the color again but no, not the right vibe.

These last two pieces fit juuuust right. They only have a hint of turquoise but they’re simple and add to the new character of the space.

After choosing my art, I went to Target and looked at shelving. While I was there I remembered I had this old piece that usually hangs horizontally. To fit the space I turned it vertically. It fit perfectly! Perfumes and soap for the guests now had a place to rest. It’s such a nice feeling to reuse stuff that’s just laying around the house. This piece was literally laying on the fireplace step for the last couple weeks with no home.

Before I had time to hang these pieces up, I went up to NJ to visit family. While I was away, Al got down to business and cranked out a lot of painting. He painted the yucky brown vanity a light turquoise and spray painted the hardware to update it a bit.

Here’s a little before shot if you’ve forgotten what the room used to look like!

I thought the new color would work well with the crazy yellow tile and the dark turquoise.

He also painted all the yellowed trim a crisp white.

And then I hung up a new shower curtain, the paintings, and the shelving when I got home.

The paintings were hung on the right side of the vanity so that the shelving and a new towel could fit on the left. It’s a brushed nickel finish from Target that now matches the shower curtain and vanity hardware. I do hope to update the vanity hardware to something more modern soon. I’d also like to spray paint the shelves white but I haven’t gotten to that yet!

What do you think? It’s still pretty crazy coloring but I think I’ve successfully toned town the yellow tile!

Thanks Al for all your hard work!

kitchen aid

We moved here to Richmond in December and my sister, Lindsay moved in with us a couple weeks later.  I knew we weren’t going to ask her to pay rent but what I did ask for was some unpacking and organizing help.  It’s what she does best after all!

Today, on her new blog she writes about a kitchen project we worked on together.  I don’t want to give too much away but if you have a lack of storage space in your kitchen and maybe a spare wall or two, this is a post you should definitely check out!  She’s got lots of different solutions.

You can find the post over on her blog, Neat As You Please.

Enjoy and have a great Monday!

decor dash

Before our family visited a couple weekends ago, there were couple of sad rooms that we had just shoved stuff in when we moved here last December.  The week before they got here, we finally got our act together.  Now we only have ONE, albeit giant, room of random storage crappola.

This being our first house and the first one we’ve had to overhaul and decorate, every time we tackle a room I feel overwhelmed.  I often think that we don’t have the right pieces of furniture or decor items.  Well, when we finally got around to ‘finishing’ one of the two guest rooms, I only had a week left so I didn’t have time to fuss over the little things.  Let me correct myself, when I say week, I actually mean about one hour on Thursday night and a touch up on Friday afternoon.  Stresssss.

I thought it might be interesting to go through how I attacked the space and my thought process.  I read decor blogs daily and sometimes I just think, How the heck did they come up with that?!  Today, you don’t have to wonder.

The process was definitely a ‘dash’.  I probably looked like a crazy person, just ask Al.  When I decorate I stand there thinking, picturing things in my head, and then move at light speed.  If that idea doesn’t work or I have another idea, I’ll change course in a second.  This often leads to lots of furniture moving (Sorry Al!) but hey, it works!

The room is about 10 x 10 in size.  I knew I needed to get the bed, the side table, and the dresser into the space so I started with that. My first attempt at the arrangement made the space too crowded – the bed was centered and the dress was on the opposite wall. To remedy the problem, I first shifted the bed to about a foot away from the adjacent wall.  This way it’s not too much of a pain to make the bed!  Then, I had Al help me move the dresser to the doorway wall.  It worked.  You could now easily walk into a nice, open room and get to the different elements.

I initially had the 5×7 rug perpendicular to the bed but it didn’t cover enough of the space.  When getting into bed you would’ve been walking on the bare floor.  So we shifted the rug again, turning it parallel and off-center to cover the floor more.

To complete the first layer of the room (all the big pieces), I moved in an amazing antique desk that I had just brought all the way back home from my grandparents house in New Jersey.  I needed a spot to place my fan -> one of only two purchases that I made for the room!  The sun beats down on that room so the fan was necessary.

I put it in that corner because I already had a lamp on the dresser and if it were on the side table, the wind would have blown our guest out of their bed.  Ha.

Oh and the second purchase was the tan bed skirt. A small purchase that we really needed since for years now we’ve had the box spring and metal bed frame showing.

I decorated the dresser area with a couple of pieces.  The lamp is a thrift store find and so is the mirrored tray.  I figured our guests could wrangle any little items in there.

To figure out where to hang our wedding photo (which I printed at home!), I stepped back to see how it would play off the lamp position.  I forgot to take a dead-on picture of the two to show you but I hung the frame higher than the lamp and off-center from the dresser.

When approaching an arrangement, you want to go with variety.  I’ve got the tray which is super low, a slightly bigger vessel, a taller lamp, and then the frame which is the tallest.  I used to like stuff really aligned with things centered and the same size but I’ve found that moving away from that to more of an extreme (compared to the ‘safe’ centering) really adds character to a space.

Next up I pulled a couple of art and design books from the hundreds in my office -> that’s another room that needs major help.  I stacked them up on the side table and topped them with one of Al’s photos from a high school trip to Germany and some sand (?) from New Zealand that his best friend gave him.  A little interest and more personalization.

In the following photo (that you saw earlier), you can see the art above the bed.  They are just some prints from my graphic design thesis.  I combed through my inventory and found art that I thought would match best with the bedding.  The purple flowers in the prints somewhat match the purple quilt and flowers on the pillows.  I centered the frames above the bed – high enough so our guests wouldn’t hit them when they sleep but low enough so they could work as a mock headboard.

My final touch was to bring in my little indoor plant and a mister.  It really doesn’t water the plant enough if I just mist it so I take the top off and dump the water in. I’ll sacrifice for pretty decor. 🙂

I was shocked at how put together the room looked once I had finished and it only took me about a hour!!  If you ever feel overwhelmed like me just take it one layer at a time! Big items to small.

Of course we’ve got a couple more projects left until I can say this room is complete:

  • update the dresser – paint it or new knobs?
  • update the side table – sand, paint, and stain?
  • paint the walls
  • iron the stinkin’ bed skirt 🙂
  • spruce up the lamp shade with fabric or paint

But for now, I love it!

Thanks for listening, I talked a ton today! Hopefully you learned a little something after reading all that. 🙂

Do you have any questions about the process? I needed to stop myself somewhere!