Master Bedroom Update.

Pencil Us In

To chalk paint or not to chalk paint?  That might not be what Shakespeare meant, okay. I had my own Hamlet moment over Spring Break, but instead of holding some knife it was a quart of chalk paint. But seriously, is it nobler to break down and just buy new stuff, or takes arms and suffer the work of painting? In our case, it was better to buy? It wasn’t laziness or a lack of DIY skill that ultimately pushed us over the edge to purchase, it was quality and style of our existing pieces.

We asked ourselves –
1. Do we actually love the furniture itself? It was a resounding no. It was small and and overstuffed.
2. Would painting it give it the right fit and feel for our home? Eh, not really. We didn’t love the style, even if it was painted.
3. Would it last long enough to be worth the paint cost? Again, not really. It was cheaper laminate furniture that truly didn’t have the longevity of quality pieces that just need a little revamping.

So it ended up being a clear choice. We needed to buy new furniture.

We started shopping right when school got out for Easter and I went price-comparing at two local furniture shops in town to price compare and finalize a realistic but no over-the-top budget. I found several I liked, but never could pull the trigger and buy any particular pieces. We kept our IKEA (We have this one, but I think it’s no longer sold.) bed frame and coordinating nightstands, but we needed a new dresser and chest of drawers (well, chester drawers if you’re from around here, let’s be honest). Finally, I found one at Hickory Furniture Mart (and wholly guacamole – why haven’t I been there?! It’s like four IKEAs in one) and we found one we loved for about three hundred bucks less than we budgeted for, so we used our savings to treat ourselves to a great little getaway to Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach (thanks, AirBnB) during Spring Break. It was much needed and such a cheap but fun trip.

 

 

Moral of the story –

  1. DIY is GREAT. But, at the end of the day if your trash-to-treasure project is starting with legit trash, scrap it and get something of quality. It’s not worth throwing money at a project that is trash to begin with and not, in fact, a diamond in the rough.
  2. Shop around! Stick to your budget and don’t jump to buy until you find the one. Waiting was worth it and our savings resulted in an inexpensive, unplanned yet total fantastic trip.
  3. What a difference! Bedroom furniture was way down our priority list for so long (like ten years!) because you don’t exactly “entertain” in your bedroom (ek, well, I hope you don’t…), so at least for us, it didn’t carry the same importance as a good couch or nice dining room table, so laminate, good-enough furniture was okay. But dang, y’all. It made a huge difference, and the bedroom is where you start and end your days, so it truly does deserve as much of importance as the rooms you tend to “show off.”IMG_4335

 

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My Pinterest-Perfect Pantry Project.

Check out that title… #alliteration

I love having a pantry. Our kitchen at our old house was large and open after we moved the L-shaped peninsula bar and turned the kitchen into a large U-shape with a butcher-block island. It was probably the best feature of the house, to be honest. But, it still had no pantry, so we kept can goods and whatnot in one section of cabinets. I so don’t miss having to do that. Since moving in, I have wanted one of those super-organized Pinteresty pantries, all styled and lovely. Obviously, it’s not something I had as a major to-do list project, especially in the crazy-joyful-beautiful-sorrowful-traumatic year we have had. But lately, spring fever and fidgetiness from waiting on this latest adoption has gotten to me angsty, so it became a great project to work on!

I used wicker baskets from the Goodwill, cheap dollar store plastic bins plus Rustoleum Metallic spray paint, aka“Magic” Paint in our house, and chalkboard label stickers and wooden tags from Amazon to accomplish the task. I chose to use the hammered kind in Antique Pewter. It finishes just like galvanized tin. I did several coats and let them dry in the garage. In the meantime, I compiled my wicker baskets, looking for a variety of shapes and sizes to fit the pantry things I commonly buy.

I am ritual grocery shopper. Basically, I go to Aldi at relatively the same time each week. I buy basically the same stuff for roughly the same amount each week. It means I pretty much know what’s in my pantry and fridge at any given point. I keep a good inventory and loathe-loath-loathe any sort of food waste. So organizing what I had was a pretty easy task. I divided our pantry items into baking items, snacks, canned veggies, oil and vinegar, sauces and condiments, sandwich-making items, soups, and grains. I have a few more baskets to grab, (notice the plastic bins still to replace) but so far, it’s already a huge improvement.

Nursery Redo, Take 5.

Copy of Gender Neutral Nursery

When we moved, I hated leaving the unfinished, half started nursery. It was the only room I really felt “attached” to at that time. We had always planned to do a Beatrix Potter-themed nursery (back in 2010, 2011) but after miscarriage after miscarriage, nursery decorating got pushed to a halt and none of that ever really came to fruition. Instead, after we began the adoption process, the whole plan changed, and we started our second nursery project. I abandoned the Beatrix Potter plans and went for a simple color palette of teal, yellow, and grey for a gender-neutral nursery. We painted the room a gorgeous, picked up a few accessories, and beautifully simple white wood IKEA crib and added a perfect dresser I got for free – it was even the same one I had pinned from Pinterest. Seriously. It was in this phase that we sold the house and moved.

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When we moved, the nursery in the new house (Number 3) was blue. I abandoned most of the teal (because we were too busy/broke/overwhelmed) to repaint, and stuck with the yellow and grey. This was to be Mira’s nursery. Despite the “baby boy blue” walls, I never felt like it wasn’t girly enough. I am a firm believer in not letting gender affect color choices, plus there were so many bows, pink blankets, and pink clothes, it never felt “boyish” in the room, just calming and pretty.

 

 

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Not pictured… grey and white chevron rug…

 

When she died, we initially put everything in the room and shut the door. Swings, cradles, medical equipment, the Pack-N-Play and the Rock-N-Play, all the baby things around the house were put out of sight and out of mind when we left the hospital without her. It was good not to have to come home to her things lying everywhere, but at the same time, I really felt like I could not leave it as “her” room. So, in February, I started out decorating Nursery Number 4. I don’t believe in making a dead person’s room their shrine. It’s not how I grieve or cope, and it would feel weird just placing another child into “her” room. So we cleaned and organized as we could. It was emotionally difficult, exhausting, and some days it was just too hard. We have left all of her clothes and such in the closet and drawers in case we end up with a girl, but everything else that was very specifically Mira’s was packed into a box, along with medical supplies, and put in the attic with other baby stuff. I rearranged the furniture, bought a new rug, and swapped the yellow accessories for navy ones. Bringing in the navy color really changed the room. While many of the things in the room are still there from before, it no longer feels like Mira’s room, and I never want it to feel like she has been replaced because without a doubt, we know that would never be possible.  When we got word in mid-February, early March that we might end up with a foster son (which for complicated reasons, we didn’t end up with) we redid the room once again (so Nursery version 5 if you’re keeping up with this) and rotated some furniture and added a twin bed with grey bedding. The handmade blanket I added to the twin bed was bought at a church auction for our missions fund and crocheted by a lady in my church. It was just the right colors and a nice testament to Mira’s love of all things crocheted. We moved the grey ottoman against the wall for seating and moved the chair into our bedroom temporarily. It will now work for a boy or girl or even a sibling group, and I really like the way it has turned out. Having a ready nursery is such a huge help in the waiting process! It was also very helpful in the healing process to pack away Mira’s things, but also to keep so many important touches of her life in the room as well.

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Ready for whatever children God gives us.

Master Bath Reno… Part 1!

JOIN USRedoing our master bathroom was something we knew we were going to have to do when we bought our house. You know how when you house-hunt, your realtor (or in my case, my realtor/BFF/voice of reason/favorite decision maker… I’m looking at you, Katy!)  reminds you that finding a house with this, that, and every single “requirement” is not likely, especially if you have a specific location or price range in mind. It’s just not likely to happen, so instead, what you end up doing is looking for compromise. What features are non-negotiable, and what things are nice but not necessarily deal-makers or deal-breakers? I thought for me, the master bath would be that non-negotiable. Instead, it was really the kitchen. The granite counters, the white cabinets, it sold it for me, even though the bathroom included granny-floral wallpaper in the only had a shower and not the big, deep, soaking tub I dreamed of. The divided bathroom style gave us a large open vanity, so we felt like the lack of tub and the kinda awful wallpaper were things we could change. Not to mention, most of the houses we looked at that had bathrooms we liked almost always had horrifically small, dreary kitchens with bad counters and old 80s appliances that screamed to be gutted. Like, a HUGE expense. So we’ve realized the bathroom redo would be more doable, and it would be a two-phase project. The first part we could DIY, but the second will require a contractor.

For the first part, the plan had been to de-wallpaper the vanity area, frame in the mirror, update the faucet (or paint it with that AMAZING Rustoleum metallic spray paint) from chrome to oil rubbed bronze, paint the cabinets and update the hardware, replace the lighting, add some shelving/decor, and give the whole area a facelift.

I wasn’t sure when we would do this project, but our painter jumpstarted it for us. When we had the house painted (REPOSE GRAY! So in love, btw), I asked the painter to give me some feedback on how hard the wallpaper would be to remove. Well, he bent down and grabbed the corner where it was already starting to peel and. he. pulled. it. up. Now, I had absolutely no problem with him testing out a small spot like he did, but over the next few days, my OCD tendencies took over and I found it to like a hangnail you can’t leave alone. I couldn’t stand it. So I started taking it down piece by piece. Jake swore up and down he was not on board with the project and that I was on my own! I did end up doing most of the wallpaper removing, puttying, sanding, and priming on my own. He did, quite lovingly, frame in the mirror for me. We used plastic moulding made of PVC. I wasn’t game for this at first, worrying it would look cheap (and it was not!) It turns out PVC is meant to give you the look of wood, but with moisture protection, inside or out. It is strong and durable, easy to cut and resists chipping, splitting, and cracking. It was a definite win!

I had bought a white paint for the room, but when I got it on, it was bland and too white against the already white crown moulding. I sat on it for a while, trying to debate what to do. In the meantime, I worked on the cabinets. I planned to paint the cabinets a deep teal. I lucked up and found a quart of high-quality Sherwin Williams paint on the clearance rack at Lowes because it was in an “old label” can – basically it was just a new look to the marketing! But it was marked down to $8 nonetheless, and so I gobbled it up and had it tinted in Sherwin Williams Oceanside which just so happened or also be their 2018 Color of the Year. I loved it so much, and with our deep red oak floors and the black granite, the teal popped. It looked clean and classy. I replaced the hardware with black and gold polka-dot-ed knobs I picked up on clearance at Hobby Lobby quite a while back. Jake tackled the lighting. We stuck to the vanity style light simply because I liked the light it gives off. It was the only style we found that would even light up the space and adequately light your face when getting ready. So we picked one in oil rubbed bronze!

I finished the majority of the work right as the painters finished up. We ended up asking the painters to add on the master bath to their jobs that week and so they covered my primer white paint with… wait for it… repose gray! And it was exactly what I had hoped for. I picked up the round mid-century modern/rustic wood shelving at TJ Maxx and later some artwork that was a brand-new in the box Goodwill find. 12 bucks is not bad for what I got either.  It’s ⅓ of the three-piece set from Porch & Den  – their Midnight Forest Gold Foil Embellished Canvas. It is about $200 for the set depending on where you look, and I only needed ⅓ of it anyways, so Goodwill was a victory. The only thing left to do is replace or paint the faucet, a weekend project to be tackled soon.

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So here’s what it looked like in progress…

You can see glimpses of that wallpaper we took down. I so don’t miss it!

 

And here’s the ~mostly~  finished project. I added the artwork later to the wall on the left side of the picture. And of course, gotta find the right faucet.

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I’m so happy with how it turns out. If you ever wonder if you should jump on the jewel-toned color theme – my experience says absolutely!

Repose Gray paint and new lighting.

BEFORE (1)For my thirtieth (EEK!) birthday, Jake has hired professional painters. Yes, DIYing would be cheaper and possibly more fulfilling, but doggone it, Jake hates painting. HATES it.

And our original plan was to have this done by painters some time while Mira was in the hospital for her Glenn, her second open heart surgery, that way it could happen while she was not at home to be around paint-smells and we’d be out of the way. Obviously, that didn’t happen because we never made it to her Glenn.

If you’ve read much of my early posts or talked to me much about our house, you know how much the border in the living room, entryway, foyer, kitchen, office, and dining room made me crazy. In the words of my Sunday School teacher, it made my teeth itch. It was dated, not my style, and worse of all, it didn’t line up evenly. AND it was in every room but bathrooms (one of which had full wallpaper), bedrooms, and the laundry room.

I agonized over paint colors for weeks, and then the painters (who were GREAT, by the way) narrowed down the OVERWHELMING list of options to about three or four chips. I did my research on undertones, lighting, and even resale value and chose… drum roll… Sherwin Williams Repose Gray.

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I love how it turned out. While having someone do it for us was not cheap, it was insanely easy. We just removed hanging items from the wall and they did the rest while we worked. It would have taken us weeks to tackle such a huge job that they completed in two days. For the time and energy we saved, it was definitely worth it.

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Listing photo – see the BEFORE border/wall color…

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And AFTER.

I LOVE how perfect Repose Gray ended up being for our main living areas. It works so well with the wood and white details we’ve added. Also, do you notice the updated lighting? We’ve slowly updated several light fixtures in the house and I couldn’t love them more. And #noregrets about paying a professional. Happy Birthday to me!

A More Meaningful Mantle.

Not long after we moved in, we painted the brick fireplace and in doing so, took down the old white mantle that was boring and crooked and just not right for the space. We planned to get to it April. Or May. Or maybe June. Then, Mira came. Obviously, it fell to the bottom of the priority list pretty quick, and it was a more intensive project. Jake and my dad had fell some cedar trees on my dad’s land several years back and the wood had been curing in a barn on my husband’s family’s land until such a time as it could be made into a mantle. It would need some shaping and woodworking that required a few more tools than we had, and then the process of staining and/or sealing as well as the process of putting it up made it more complicated than a weekend project. Needless to say, it stayed unfinished until not long before Mira got sicker. Around mid-October, I had a minor freak-out about what to do with Christmas stockings. How the heck does one Christmas decorate with no mantle? So J willingly and lovingly jumped into sacrificing several days off to completing the process. The wood has rough blade marks on the top from the sawmill where it was cut, which belongs to Jake’s family. The fact that the wood was cut and processed with the help of our dads gave it such meaning. I love that the mantle now has history, and the way Jake decided to use the two side pieces to mount it gave it character and charm. And I didn’t have to worry about where to hang the girls’ stockings, Mira’s especially, which we will hang every Christmas with a special card inside. I think it’s a special tradition that will help us look back on our years and see how we progress through our loss with each holiday season.

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The Little Red Backyard Chicken Coop.

our little redBack in March, we added three chicks to the family. Yes, like chicken-chicks.

 

I’ve always wanted to have chickens. Not a whole flock – just a few I could name who would lay enough eggs to support my baking habit.

 

I was so worried about neglecting them once Mira was born. Our chickens have been well taken care of by family and friends, despite our being in the hospital from June to August. And look! They’ve started laying! After church, we came home to find our first eggs!

 
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Obviously, we haven’t had much time in the way of projects lately having spent so much time in the hospital and then coming home with a medically fragile infant. So I while this isn’t exactly a recent project, I do want to share our about how we added this cute little chicken coop to our yard. It was such an easy project!

First, we ordered the coop from Amazon! I know, right? AMAZON PRIME.

Best Choice Products 80in Wooden Chicken Coop Nest Box Hen House Poultry Cage Hutch w/ Ramp and Locking Doors – Brown

It was better quality for the price than all of the farm supply stores we checked. For our three chickens, it was the perfect size.

I grabbed some already tinted oil-based exterior paint in white and barn red and gave the coop a good coating, keeping the cross-boards (the Xs and trim) white and the walls and doors red. I did it this spring in my nightgown in the mornings before showering for the day. It took a couple of days, but it was well worth the work to protect it, and I truly love how cute it looks in our backyard.