Oh, Lighten Up

Normally I love to paint. It’s such a cheap, fast way to makeover a room or piece of furniture. I love cracking open a can of paint, especially a new color I haven’t used before. I can usually knock out a room in a day or two with no problem. There’s not a room that my paintbrush and I couldn’t tackle.

Until I started painting the living room…in all of its wood-paneled glory.

photo 3-006photo 2-005I feel like this room has taken forever to paint. Because it has. I actually started painting this room as soon as we moved in. (a few months ago) I couldn’t wait to paint over the paneling and I knew exactly what paint color I was going to use.  I’ve painted paneling before so I wasn’t too worried. I got one wall done and then, I don’t know what happened, I lost my mojo…my painting mojo (it’s a thing).

Fortunately, Hollis’ baptism is next weekend and I will have a house full of people. Nothing lights a fire under my bum like the pressure of having people see my house and judge me. I’m fairly certain my house would never get dusted without the fear of someone randomly stopping by or having to take photos for this here blog. Don’t get me wrong, the room is nowhere near finished, but at least we no longer have one half painted wall and three wood-paneled walls. (Although I do still  have a half painted brick wall. Sigh.)

Here’s how it went down. Slowly. Here’s how it slowly went down. I think I maybe averaged 1/2  a wall per week.

I had to cut in around the ceiling, trim, and then I had to use a small brush to get into all those grooves in the paneling. I hate those grooves. I may have used some choice words while filling in those grooves.

IMG_0335We painted the trim in the newer part of the house, but we are leaving the original woodwork in the older part. I’ve never had dark wood trim, I’ve always had white, so choosing paint colors is a whole new adventure now. I taped off around the floor boards, but I just cut-in with a small brush around windows and doors.

IMG_0332One bad thing about paneling is, that it hides all the nail holes and imperfections in it with the busy wood grain pattern. I had a heckuva time seeing all the holes  that nails left behind until after I got a coat of paint on it. So I had to do all my wood filling after my paint dried, which didn’t speed things up any.

IMG_0331It’s also really obvious if you forget to paint a groove, or don’t fill one in all the way….this was also a time-sucker.

IMG_0334I eventually got in a rhythm and got all my cutting in done, then filled my grooves, then rolled on two coats to finish it off. The whole process shouldn’t have taken so long. I blame myself mostly. I get easily distracted, especially in the living room where the baby’s playing and the t.v. is on. That darn Pioneer Woman makes me want to stop whatever I’m doing and get in the kitchen and make something. So really this all her fault if you think about it.

Anyway, things are looking much lighter and happier in here. I like the way the pale blue looks with all of our dark brown furniture. Even that futon, which is not a permanent inhabitant of this room. He’s just visiting until we find something else.

IMG_0527IMG_0529IMG_0533Here is a close-up of the curtains. I love them. I love them so much I’d marry them if I wasn’t already married.

IMG_0545Now that the little one is officially crawling, we are in full baby proofing mode. That’s why our coffee table is against the wall like it’s being punished. And we have the wall mount for the t.v. ready to go, I just need the hubby’s help getting it hung up there. You can also see I’ve started to prime the brick wall, I’m sure it will take another month or so for me to get that done too.

IMG_0530I still have a couple of seams where the panels but up against each other that need to be filled with more than just paint. You can see what I mean in this photo below. That pesky seam on the left corner is practically screaming at me. Overall, I feel like the light blue really contrasts with the dark brown and shows off the great detail on the wood trim. Details that seemed lost next to the busy wood grain on the paneling.

IMG_0532Here’s my checklist for this room:

  • paint walls
  • wipe down/clean trim
  • hang curtains
  • hang artwork/decor
  • hang t.v.
  • add floating shelves to the t.v. wall
  • prime/paint brick
  • find window covering for door
  • replace futon
  • organize toys
  • replace carpet (some day)
  • fill panel seams
  • new furniture (this one’s a long way down the road and I mostly just put it on here to see if the hubby’s reading)

Not Your Grandma’s China Hutch…

Or maybe it is, I don’t actually know your grandma.

My husband, Brian got me a china hutch a few months before we got married. I was instantly in love. Even better, he got it for a great deal on Craigslist, which only made me love it more. We had registered for china and of course, wanted a place to house all of it. As the months rolled by and our wedding day came near, I had already accumulated a good deal of china. I opened each box excitedly, and started to display it in my new hutch. I wanted it to look pretty, and fancy, like I thought it should, in our formal dining room.

1383039_897326300865_4007006705870023573_nWhen we made the decision to move here to the farm and I started to pack up my china hutch, I was a little sad. All that hard work of meticulously placing each piece of china in the hutch in a formal display that I’m sure no one appreciated except for myself. At that point I was pretty sure we weren’t going to have a formal dining room here in the new house and the hutch was going to end up in the kitchen. I decided then that I wanted it to be a more functional piece and not just a display case.

I finally got around to unpacking all of my china and glassware a couple of weeks ago. (I didn’t want any of it to get dusty or broken while we were working away in the kitchen.) I decided to just unpack it all and lay everything out where I could see it. I collect turquoise glass and I’ve acquired quite a bit of it over the years. I’m not sure how the obsession with it started, but if I see a piece at a flea market or antique store, I instantly gravitate towards and knock anyone in my path out of the way. (So look out!) Now that we have a little one who is constantly on the move, I can no longer safely set my treasures out and about in the living room or anywhere else my little monster can hobble over to. So I knew I wanted to make room for some of my collection in the hutch out of her reach.

After seeing everything spread out across my living room floor, I realized how much of it goes unused. Not because I couldn’t use it, but because it’s normally packed away in a tote or a cabinet and I forget all about it. My favorite thing about moving is seeing all my stuff in a new light and trying to figure out a way to use it in the new space. I get so used to things being a certain way and then I get stuck in a rut. I need to take inventory of things more often and repurpose them instead of only doing it when I move!

I started out slow, just adding a few things at a time. I didn’t  want it to look too thought out. I wanted it to be like me in yoga pants on the couch drinking wine….casual and classy.

IMG_0413I tried to set things at varying heights and group like items together. I wanted it to look  interesting, not cray-cray….there’s a very fine line.

IMG_0417Of course not everything made the cut. Only a very small fraction of the turquoise collection made it. The rest, I tried to sprinkle around the kitchen and other parts of the house that the baby doesn’t play in. And a lot of things ended up in the built-in in our living room closet where I was able to at least unpack it and set it up where I can see it.

IMG_0481IMG_0484I can’t believe I wasted all that time using it for just china, it fit so much more and I haven’t even filled the drawers or lower cabinets. I love that I can walk by and see everything easily. And it doesn’t feel empty when I need to take something out to use it.

IMG_0518P.S. It does have glass doors that go on it, but I took them off while photographing to keep that darn glare down.

Update: Kitchen

We’ve been living with the ‘new’ kitchen for a while now and we’ve really been enjoying it. It’s finally starting to feel like home and things seem to be in their permanent home and not in constant flux. At first I wasn’t sure about the kitchen also serving as the dining room, but it’s turning out to be quite nice. We had a formal dining room in the old house and I think we used maybe three times. Now we actually find ourselves eating at the table instead of the living room which is a lot more convenient with a baby. It’s so easy to just slide Hollis’ high chair over to the table and eat as a family.

I’ve been painstakingly painting the trim throughout the kitchen, bathroom, entry way, and laundry room. I hate it. Painting trim is at the top of the list of things I loath, but more on that later. I’ve got the trim in the kitchen finished so I thought I would post some updated kitchen pics while things were fairly tidy in here. I also got the window treatments hung back up.  I like how they help tie in our dark wood furniture and they are good at blocking out the sunlight on hot days.

Here’s a look at the kitchen when I last posted about it…

186185And here’s how it looks today. Not a huge difference, but it feels a little more finished.

IMG_0505IMG_0509IMG_0515IMG_0517^I’m also really liking our ‘island’, which is just the Varde drawer cabinet from Ikea. We bought it for the kitchen in our last house because we were lacking in cabinet and counter space. It made me a little sad that I might not have a use for it in this kitchen since we have plenty of storage and workspace. We decided to try it as an island since the space between the stove and sink is so large. It’s been so handy, I actually use it every day.

IMG_0506^I wanted to take these top cabinets down and add some floating shelves. But in order to do that, I will have to replace the backsplash since the tiles go up around the cabinet. I’m not confident enough with my tiling removing skills to get the tiles off without breaking all of them. So until we are ready to replace the backsplash around the entire kitchen, I’m just going to live with the cabinet. My compromise was to make it an open cabinet for storing some of my dishware that is in heavy rotation. It’s nice to have easy access to them while I’m cooking.

And just for fun, here is a look side-by-side look at how things have changed since we moved in…

beforeandaftersinkbeforeandafterstoveBack to painting I go…

I’m A Cheap Date

I love flea markets…and garage sales…and thrift stores….and generally anything that saves me a few bucks. I just love shopping for stuff, even groceries. It’s a sickness I’m pretty sure. One of the reasons I became an interior designer is because I get to basically go shopping for pretty things with other people’s money. What’s better than that?! Nothing.

So when Brian pointed out to me that June Jaunt was coming up, I got super excited. “What is June Jaunt?”, you ask. Good question. It’s basically a neighborhood-wide garage sale on crack. It runs from Tribune to Ellinwood Kansas the first weekend in June. Each town along the way has their own activities going on. Some had concerts, dances, walk/run, car shows, relays, dodgeball tournaments….so many different things to do. Most importantly, there are flea markets, antique stores, garage sales, crafts, food, etc. We only went as far as Rush Center and then made our way back down to Ellinwood which is the closest town to us. This was my first time and I was really only interested in the shopping aspect this trip. When Hollis is older, we may hang out longer in each town and participate in more of the other activities going on.

Bright and early Saturday morning we headed to Rush Center with my list in hand. Yes, I take a list when flea market shopping. Sometimes I get too excited and want to buy every sparkly, shiny thing I see, so a list keeps me on track. Of course if I see something super awesome that’s not on my list, I still usually end up getting it. On my list for this particular trip was: a bench, unique containers, mirror, side table, and frames.

And here is what I actually ended up bringing home…

IMG_0457 ^^  Aren’t these 50’s style chairs great? I got the pair for $45 thanks to Brian’s aunt Carolyn. I hemmed and hawed a little bit before deciding I couldn’t leave without them. They weren’t on my list and I was trying to decide where I could use them in my house….I’m still not 100% sure, but I will find a place for them. I mean, they are gold and glittery! Not to mention they are in great shape, I don’t have to do anything to them except clean them up a bit.

IMG_0454^^ Here is a close-up of that gold glitter, it’s a little hard to photograph, but it’s there and it’s awesome.

IMG_0465^^I’ve been keeping an eye out for some new lamps for our bedroom and this guy was only $2. So now he’s mine. There was another brass one with him, a big chunky round one, and I’m regretting not snatching him up too.

IMG_0468^^I didn’t need this light at all, but he and the light above were both at garage sales that you could tell were heavily hit on Friday and didn’t have much left when we were there Saturday. The sellers were VERY motivated to sell the rest of their stuff and close shop. The owner of this light was going to throw it away. I offered her $1 and she said I could just take it, so I did. I might be able to use it on the back porch or something.

IMG_0472^^This mirror was actually on my list, so I was very excited to find him. We found him at our very first stop, so I almost didn’t get him because I thought for sure I’d find plenty of mirrors along the way. Luckily I did get him because I didn’t find anymore after that first stop. I paid the full $15, which I thought was a really fair price. It’s a BIG mirror, a lot bigger than I was really looking for and I couldn’t find a single scratch on him. Delilah is a big fan of lying around and looking at herself if in it already.

IMG_0474^^This little brass thing I think is a sconce plant holder of some sort. It was marked .50 but I ended up getting it for free with my other purchase. I’m wanting to do a chalkboard wall somewhere in the house and I thought this would be a cute little container to hold chalk and erasers.

IMG_0479^^I got these little tea boxes at the same place as the sconce. There’s so many things they could be used for and they were only a $1. For now I’m going to actually keep, wait for it….tea in them. They fit perfectly in the cubbies of my coffee bar.

IMG_0488^^I also came home with a handful of scarves and handkerchiefs. I love them for a few different things. My mom always gets hankies at antique stores and now she’s got me doing it too! But they are they perfect size and material for little baby head wraps.

10155883_880433065045_7337572592432989243_n^^See?! Perfect.

I’d like to check June Jaunt out again next year. I think I would try to go on Friday though instead of Saturday just to see if there is a lot more stuff. As sparce as some of the sales were on Saturday, I can’t imagine anything would be left on Sunday. Any other thrifty shoppers out there? What do you like to look for at flea markets and garage sales?

Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?…

Knock. Knock.

That little gem is my inner first grade comedian coming out. You’re welcome.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the laundry room lately…Not actually doing much laundry though. Normally I avoid the laundry room for as long as possible. I think I’ve mentioned before that this is the first real laundry room I’ve had, so I really want to make all of my laundry dreams come true and make it awesome. I’m claiming it as MY room. (not that anyone was fighting me for that title) I figure it’s the only room I will ever get to myself since no one else wants to hang out in there, and if they do, I will be sure to put them to work. I need it to be a place I actually want to spend some time in. Even if it’s just to close the door and scream into a pile of dirty laundry….because that happens some days.

When we moved in, our laundry room was looking a little sad, and a lot dirty. Definitely not a place I would want to hang out for too long. My shiny new washer and dryer looked so out-of-place in there.


photo 4-001


Don’t get me wrong, it was still a giant step-up from our last confessional booth laundry room. And and a giant-er (that’s a word) step-up from our last washing machine. I so wanted to do this to it.







The first necessary change was pulling out the carpet and laying tile which you can read about here. We are really loving the tile, especially how much easier it is to keep clean in the entry/laundry/kitchen and bathroom.




I knew I wanted a bright, cheery color. It’s a small room, but not tiny and it gets good natural light thanks to a small window, so I knew it could handle a bold color. I had leftover orange paint from our last house, we used it in the office before it became the nursery. I liked it then, but with the wood floors in the room, it just never really worked for me. The glossy wood floors would really reflect the wall color and bounce light around, it just was too much going on. But here, with our new matte gray tile, I thought I would try it again. If I end up hating it, I can always paint over it.

The first coat was not looking promising. I used Sherwin-Williams Exciting Orange. I use Sherwin-Williams paint a lot and have had very few issues with it but, for some reason this color is super watery. I remember it being runny when I used it at the last house too. So instead of my usual two-coat application, this was more of a four coat (five in some places) application.  You can see in this pic below, the right side is one coat and the left side is two coats. Luckily it’s a small room and I still got it painted pretty fast.


photo 4-002


This brown wall is what took five coats…..I hated this wall.


photo 1-004


So…four to five coats later,  I was left with a cheery, peachy orange. I just love gray and orange together, it’s one of my favorite color combos. It feels really fresh and modern and gets me in the mood to fluff and fold, well, as much as one can be in the mood for that.


photo 3-002


And here’s the mostly finished product. I figured I better snap some pics before the laundry roles in. It’s just so happy and clean…it will never be this clean again…EVER. The trim also got painted a nice bright white, I don’t regret that decision at all, it really needed it.










I’ve been living with my new room for a couple of weeks now, and I’m loving it.  It’s the only room that I’m not constantly picking things up in, it just stays nice and clean. All it needs now is a wine fridge, a chaise lounge, and a pile of my fave design mags and I would be “doing laundry” ALL the time!

Second Floor Tour

Sorry it has taken me so long to get the second floor tour up here. I’ve been so busy jumping from project to project on the first floor, and the second floor really doesn’t need any work anyway. It’s like you walk up the stairs and are magically transported to a beautiful oasis where everything is brand new and move-in ready. A place where you can really just sit back and relax.


Just kidding.

I have just as much work to do up there, if not more. There is paneling as far as the eye can see that needs to be painted, carpet that needs to be replaced, cracks in the ceiling and walls that need to be addressed, closets that need to be reconfigured…I could keep going, but it’s too overwhelming to think about.

I’m going to have a heckuva time painting all the paneling just in the stairwell alone and don’t even get me started on the window treatments (or lack there of) up in here. I definitely need to get something up soon, it’s like walking through a toaster oven to get to one of the bedrooms. I just don’t know what to do with them! I like having the light, but there are 3 large windows (one you can’t see in this pic, but it’s at the bottom of the stairs) and then there is that small, odd-shaped one at the bottom too. I would love suggestions if you’ve got any!


Just go ahead and ignore how dirty the floors and banister are, mmmkay? The closed-door to the left is an old staircase that has been closed off and turned into a closet. I call it our “attic” closet. It’s big and holds a lot of our things that we don’t use often like suitcases and Holiday decor. The other closed-door straight ahead is the staircase to the actual attic. I’ve only been up there once and it’s a nice big space, but it’s full of old things.

IMG_0339There’s a nice little spot up here overlooking the stairs. I haven’t officially decided what I will do with it, but I’m thinking about making it a little craft area where Hollis and I can draw/color/create. That white cabinet is already housing my art supplies. I just have my old drawing table there for now, but I want to find a small-ish round table and a couple of chairs for us. (She’s only 8 months old, so I have a little time to figure it out.) It looks especially small in these photos, but it’s actually quite a nice space.

photo 1-014IMG_0341The first room off the stairs is our guest room/Hollis’ changing room. I have a lot of work to do in her room, so instead of moving her stuff around twice, we just put it in here until I get around to it. It’s not a huge room, but it fits our giant queen size bed frame and it has a really nice, big closet.

034038039Our only other bathroom is next. Sorry for the dark picture. (Taking a pic facing a window is no bueno.) There’s no shower up here, just a huge claw foot tub. I would like to add a shower to it someday, but that’s a long ways down the road.

IMG_0141IMG_0140025And then there is the scary water closet. It’s very dark in there, I’d like to remove the cabinet. I think it would make it feel lighter and a less claustrophobic. I don’t keep  anything in the cabinet anyways, the top shelf of it is too high for me to even reach.  I think a couple of floating shelves would be much better in there for what we need.

IMG_0138Next is the master bedroom. We are really only calling it the master because it has two closets. The second closet (the one with the mirror on it) was added on later. While it is a good size closet and we really need it, it does eat up a good chunk of space in here. You can also see that miss Hollis is bunking with us currently. We will gain some more space when she moves to her new room. At some point I would like to re-do my closet. It has an odd layout and runs under the attic stairs so I lose some space there, but I would like to reconfigure it and hopefully eliminate the need for my dresser.

017Luckily we were able to fit a king size bed and our night stands on that wall, just barely, but they fit.019The last room up here is Hollis’ room. It’s a really nice sized room, this picture doesn’t really do it justice. It also has a queen size bed in it and still has  room for her crib and dresser with plenty of room left over for toys and things. Her closet it also a great size, but needs to be reconfigured. Since we don’t have a finished basement (or attic) to store things in, we really need to utilize all of our closets and get the most out of them.

IMG_0342So yeah….I’m going to be busy for a long time. Good thing I like to stay busy!

So Fresh and So Clean, Clean…


I know we live in the country, and our house is set back pretty far off a dirt road, so curb appeal isn’t a huge issue. It’s not like people are constantly driving by judging us on our peeling house and barren, desert-like landscape, so I had come to terms with  waiting a year or so to have the house painted. BUT then the best thing happened. Brian and his dad were out working on the farm and a couple of guys with a paint company based out of Wichita drove by and stopped to ask if they had anything that needed painting! Ummmm….yes, as a matter of fact we do! Talk about perfect timing. If they hadn’t driven by when they did, our house would still be shedding paint like dandruff.

Here’s what the house looked like when we moved in.

IMG_1438Then the painters showed up to power wash. The same day we hired them, I might add. (They weren’t messing around.)  The house needed a good scrubbing for sure, but things were looking a little scary after they were finished. I’m pretty sure you could see that peeling paint from space.

052As you can see, if it wasn’t already obvious, the house has metal siding.054I was glad the house got a much-needed scrubbing. It was grosssss…and understandably so, it does sit outside 24/7  after all. The power wash knocked off about 30 hornets/wasps nests, a bunch of old birds nests, and probably a lot of other things that I’d rather not know about. Ick.

057Brian and I bought some mulch and edging to put down around some spots along the house a couple of months ago. We just haven’t had a good day where we were both free to get it put down. Luckily our procrastination worked for the best because the power wash left a whole mess of paint chips all around the house…and it’s still there. Funny how the wind blows all the things you don’t want blowing around, but the things you do want to blow away stay put forever.  Now we are REALLY motivated to get our mulch laid down around the house.

067I was so excited to see the painters pull up the next day. We went with the same bright white as before. Kind of boring, I know, but they caught me so off-guard with wanting to paint the house right away, that I didn’t even have time to consider paint colors. Now things are looking so fresh and clean!

The next day after everything had dried and we had a chance to really take a look at the finished product, the painters called to see if there were any spots that needed an extra coat or special attention. We had noticed a couple of spots that didn’t get sprayed as well as others. They sent someone out asap and he touched-up the spots that day. I admit I was a little leery of hiring someone driving around looking for work, but they quoted us a fair price and gave us great service. We would definitely use them again!


068062Landscaping is definitely next on our list. Though we don’t really have a solid plan yet. Landscaping is NOT my strong suite, I’m terrible at keeping plants alive.

Here’s my to-do list:

  • paint the exterior
  • add landscaping
  • trim back trees
  • replace screen doors (front and back)
  • replace porch lights
  • add patio furniture to side porch
  • beef up the front porch (chunkier posts maybe??)
  • remove that old porch light from the back of the house by the window (there used to be a door there)
  • get rid of old satellite dish
  • clean out garage