Wednesday, February 20, 2013

small changes, big impact

Happy Wednesday!  I am guest posting over at Glitter, Glue and Paint again today, sharing the kitchen updates.  Go check it out, and say hello to Denyse!  

I also wanted to share with you some small-ish changes in the house that have actually made a huge difference to us. 

1.) Bedroom Throw Pillows
When we gave our bedroom a makeover last August, I couldn't find the right pillows for the bed, so the room sat like this for the longest time.
Then, one day I was dusting the guest room when I glanced over at the window seat, and it hit me!
Those pillows that have been sitting in this room for almost a year are perfect for our bedroom.  So I scooped them up and moved them on over.  It looks perfect now, and I love walking into the room with a completely made bed now.
 I bought these pillows from Ikea a few years ago for the living room of our apartment in Austin, and now they work perfectly in here.  I love "shopping" in my own house for decor!
 2.) Living Room Lamp
I guess I could have titled this post "things I stole from the guest room", because this lamp used to be in the guest room and then I moved it to the living room because we needed more light.  
I got this lamp at the Restore for $2 and didn't mind the orange color, but it just wasn't quite right for the space.  I picked up a can of Rustoleum Spray Paint in "Aubergine" from Home Depot.

A couple quick coats later, and we've got a neat new, purple lamp.  Much better.
I probably need a crisp, white shade, though..
3.) Bannister, Railing, and Step
Just like most of our house, these were all oak when we moved in.  I used gel stain, and followed the same steps to do this as I did on the bathroom vanity, the kitchen cabinets, and the open shelving in the kitchen.  Check out these before and afters:
So there you have it, three somewhat small changes in our house that have really changed how the spaces feel everyday!

Friday, February 15, 2013

the kitchen of our dreams - open shelving

So, just to recap where we started in the kitchen, we moved in to this builder-grade land of oak.  I had also removed cabinet doors to give an open shelving feel.
Then, last month I used gel stain to completely transform the cabinets, and we added hardware.  But, we left one of the cabinets as is so could take it down and add open shelving.
A few weekends ago, we picked up the supplies and some paint as well, to add some warmth to this room.  Here I am prepping to paint, with the cabinet down.
For the shelves themselves, we actually used solid pine stair treads at $10 each and gel stained them (I'm on quart #2 now!).
We also picked up three 2-packs of these brackets.  They were also about $10 each.

The installing of the shelves was actually done 100% by Matt, so he filled me in on the process.  He measured out the space and marked the center to place the brackets.  Unfortunately, because of where the studs are in our wall, he was only able to put one of the three brackets per shelf, in a stud.  For the other two brackets per shelf, he used these Toggle Straps with Screws.  He had never used them before, but said they were really easy to use.  Plus, they have a weight capacity of 80 lbs.

Once you attach the brackets to the wall, you can attach the shelves to the brackets.  Make sure you are checking that everything is level before screwing them altogether.

This project took a few hours, but we love the end result.  Also notice the beige color on the wall.  It's nothing too special, but goes well with the cabinets and our now-white baseboards and door frames!
I love how the brackets go with the new cabinet hardware.
I am thinking we need to add some pops of color on the shelves, and maybe some type of art/sign above them.  Any thoughts/recommendations?
P.S. Speaking of pops of color, how awesome do the towel and tea kettle look in the kitchen now?!? My Aunt and Uncle got this kettle for me for Christmas and I lu-ove it!
We have plans to eventually update the counters, backsplash, flooring and appliances, but we're not sure when any of those things will happen yet!

Update: I added some art to the shelves, so the kitchen is looking a bit better now: 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

a few of my favorite things #2

Check out some of my favorite things I've found in the past week on Pinterest and blogs I follow!

First up, this amazing open shelving that Ashley over at Domestic Imperfection added to her kitchen.  The whole transformation is amazing, and I love the pops of color!
And then, I spotted some $8 crates at Home Depot and then found this great idea from Abby at
Morning by Morning Productions, who had spotted the same crates! Might be a perfect fit for our
guest bath, above the toilet.
And last, but certainly not least is this awesome bathroom makeover that Allison over at House of Hepworths just finished.  She has one of my favorite blogs, and just seems like the sweetest person! Go check her blog out and say hi!
Hope you feel just as inspired by these as I do!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

clearance backsplash

A bit of advice I can give you about diy decorating is don't get too stuck on specifics of what you will do, and take your time on it. The reason I say this is because if you have a general idea of what you like and see for a space, keep an open mind, and then keep your eyes open, you can score some really great deals.

The back splash that we just installed in the laundry room is a perfect example of how this has worked well for us.  The hubs and I go to Home Depot probably 1-2 times a week, and are always keeping our eyes open for those yellow clearance tags, and a few weeks ago we spotted these guys.
The moment we saw it, we knew the colors would go great with the light, airy green paint on the laundry room walls.  And what did the yellow sticker next to it say, you ask? $1.43 per 12x12 sheet, my friends!  We knew that we want a shorter back splash than this, so we picked up 3 sheets of tile, and a small box of white, non-sanded grout for $5.50, bringing our total to less than $10!
I really don't like having to cut little tiles that rarely come out perfect, so I decided to cut these sheets up into strips so the individual tiles aren't staggered, but line up.  It was really easy to do this with a utility knife on top of a piece of cardboard.
Instead of using mortar to adhere our tile to the wall, we used this amazing product called SimpleMat.  It's literally just sheets that stick to the wall and then your tile sticks to it.  It's incredible, and we actually had some left over from the fireplace makeover we did back in October.
Once all of your sheets are up on the wall, you can start placing your tile.  You should always use tile spaces on any tiling project, but especially since I cut my tiles into strips, they were very helpful!
 Here it is all up and ready for grout.
Matt took care of the grouting, and now we have this lovely back splash.
P.S. I forgot to share that Matt and his Dad installed this utility sink and faucet while his folks were here for Christmas.  It has been so nice to have, and we are so thankful for his Dad's help!

Check out how we've updated the laundry room with paint and a mini mudroom and updated the cabinets.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

guest posting

Hey Everybody! I'm guest posting over at Glitter, Glue, and Paint today, sharing this cute little key and sunglasses holder.  Go check it out!
Happy Day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

caulk trim for a professional finish

Hey y'all! Sorry I've been so absent, lately! I've been up to my accdientally-paint-tipped-hair with projects lately, but I wanted to share this quick tip I just discovered.

For the last year, we have been updating all of our baseboards and door frames by painting them white.  They have looked really good, but then yesterday, I discovered a way to make them look great!  
The key: Caulk
It's actually one of the easiest projects I've ever done, and it's made such a huge difference!

Start by picking up some caulk from your hardware store.  I just picked up the cheap $3 tube of DAP in white.  Then, using painters tape, tape off next to your trim, leaving about 1/16" gap.
Then, using your caulking gun, run a line of caulk directly on the gap between the wall and the trim.  I found it best to have your gun at about a 45 degree angle. 

Then, run your finger on the caulk, pressing it into the gap.  While doing this, you will also get a ton of excess on your finger, but I guess this is normal.
This will also cause excess caulk to get on the trim itself, so using a wet rag (more than damp, but not dripping), wipe down the line of caulk, as well as the trim to remove any excess before it dries.  Then, remove the tape and you have a beautifully finished piece of trim!
So far, I've done all the door frames and baseboards in the kitchen and downstairs hallway...
isn't it just beautiful?
I promise you, it looks a million times more amazing in person,
and for about $2-$3 per room, it is so worth it!
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