Laundry Refresh

It’s been a minute since I’ve actually written a post! We have been road-tripping and enjoying what is left of Summer before Hollis starts her first year of pre-school next week. I have been taking a break from projects and have been focusing on organizing ALL THE THINGS. I have gutted all the closets, except the bedroom closets, which I plan to tackle soon. A lot of our closets on the first floor have not been sorted through since we moved here, I kind of just dumped random things in them that didn’t have a home at the time. Now that we are settled here, a lot of the items found homes elsewhere in the house, and other things got purged and donated.

Anyway…while I was organizing the laundry room closet, which is also our coat closet, I felt like the whole room could really use a refresh. The laundry room is right off the entry way when you walk into our house. It’s literally the first room you see and it really doesn’t reflect the style of our house.  It has a door on it, but honestly we never shut it. You can always see right into the laundry room when you walk in the door. Because of that, I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping the room tidy, but there is no decor whatsoever and the wall color is leftover paint from our last house.

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I had hung a couple of utility shelves with rods when we first moved here. I thought that I would use them a lot more than I do, but I really don’t store much on them and I usually only hang a couple of things at a time so I really don’t need so much hanging space. I ended up taking the shelves down and using them in the coat closet. I hung them quite a bit higher than the rod that was in there to free up space below the coats. I originally had a rolling laundry cart with three canvas bins for sorting laundry….but I NEVER used it. It just collected things in it that we were too lazy to put away. So I also moved it into the closet under the coats and that is where we keep and organize our sport/outdoor activities (ie. balls, baseball mitts, bats, kites, etc.)

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After all the closet organizing, I was left with a half empty laundry room. I was able to really think about what I need in the space and not just feel like I have to fill the space with stuff we already have because that is what worked in our old house. I can’t believe it took me three years to figure that out!

I want to just do a mini-makeover to revive the space and add some style and personality to it, because it’s definitely lacking right now. Here is my to-do list:

  • paint the walls
  • switch out the fluorescent light fixture
  • add a shelf to hold a laundry basket or two
  • add a hook(s) to hang a few laundered items
  • add some artwork
  • add some decorative storage containers
  • maybe add a plant to liven up the space
  • hang items like the drying rack and ironing board
  • find a new runner

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Room To Lounge

There is one room in our house that is in constant flux. The playroom. I’m ALWAYS in there cleaning, picking up toys, rearranging things to accommodate our (quickly) growing children. It seems like every few months the kids’ needs change, and thus, so does the playroom.

I’m so grateful we have a room to use just for the kids to play in. Especially since we don’t have a finished basement and our bedrooms are all upstairs, it’s nice for the kids to have a safe place on the main floor to play where I can keep close watch of them. I’m especially grateful for it this Summer because it has been too hot to play outside some days, like this ENTIRE WEEK. While it has been so hot, we’ve been having afternoon movie time. I turn the lights off, close the curtains, make a comfy pillow fort, grab some snacks and lay down and watch a movie, or two. This movie time is awesome because 1. it’s a cool distraction from outside and 2. both kids usually fall asleep!

I noticed that the rooms current layout was not very accommodating for movie time, or even just lounging, especially for us adults when we are in there. The room is large, but has two large picture windows and two large door openings. Our t.v. has been on the wall in the corner which made it tricky to comfortably place a sofa without it being in the center of the room. The t.v. placement was one of those decisions we made hastily when we first moved in, without really knowing where we would need/want it.

Here is a look at the previous layout. Basically the sofa was in the middle of the room, and the four corners were separate little play areas. I liked this layout while the kids were smaller, because they could both play with their own toys in separate corners. These days, they are more into the same toys and need more room to spread out and play.

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Since the room is somewhat long and narrow, I decided to split it in half and dedicate half to a ‘lounge’ area and half to the play area. This required moving the wall mounted t.v. and praying that the cable cord would reach to the new spot. Luckily it did with a little finesse.

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I moved all of our toy storage onto one wall and painted the old bookshelf a glossy white to make it look more like one unit. I got really lucky that it all fit nicely onto that one wall and then centered the t.v. above it.

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I also got lucky that our sofa/futon just barely fit along the back wall.  I wish I had a little more room for an end table or two, but I may end up finding a long narrow table to go behind it. I’m not too worried about it right now, because the futon will be replaced one of these days when the kids are older. Right now though, we are loving having a futon in this space for movie watching, naps, and when we have extra guests staying with us.

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I love that it feels cozy, but there is still plenty of room for the kids to get out their toys in this area. Lots of Duplo building goes on in this space. We had a hard time getting our tent out without moving things around before, and now there is plenty of room for it.

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Hollis did end up losing her painted house mural, but I promised I would fix up her little kitchen area as a compromise. The Ikea kitchen needed some paint touch-ups and while I was at it, I just ended up giving it a whole new farmhouse makeover. I still have a shelf to hang for her baby doll accessories and I let her pick some artwork to hang along the walls.

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Bowen is a big fan of the kitchen lately too. I have plans for a little tool/garage area for him on the opposite wall. He is getting a workbench for Christmas this year so I have a little time before I focus on that. I’m sure Hollis will enjoy it as well.

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I’m sure this room will change again, but so far I’m really happy with this new layout. The kids seem to be really happy with it too. It just feels so much bigger and more open. I love makeovers that just require a little furniture rearranging and minimal paint…and that are totally FREE!!

That Time I Painted Upholstery…

We’ve had these set of three chairs that we snagged for free from the very nice people at our bank, of all places, for months. Two of them are meant for Brian’s office, but the third…the third one is all mine (rubs hands together maniacally). The chairs are in great shape, they just have a very 60’s, masculine vibe to them. I’ve used the third chair in almost all the rooms in our house, most currently in our bedroom. We have a weird little nook in our bedroom with Brian’s dresser and one of these chairs fits there nicely too. It really comes in handy when you want to sit and tie your shoes or set the laundry basket in for a couple days…or weeks.

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As most of you know, I’ve been working on our master bedroom and trying to make it feel a little more ‘polished’ and little less ‘hot mess’. Currently this chair is just too brown and orange for my needs. I want to lighten it up a bit and make it feel more rustic/shabby chic and less 60’s office waiting room.

I started by spray painting the wood frame an ivory color. I planned on removing the cushions and covering them in a nice gray, velvet….that was the plan. The bottom cushion cooperated nicely and was super easy to remove with a few screws. The back cushion was not going to come off easily I realized after removing half of the studs. My fear was that I would tear it up too much to be able to re-attach it. I had this problem with the last chairs I re-upholstered. I never could get the backs back on them, so they stayed off. Luckily those chairs didn’t really need the back cushion, but this chair does. It just wouldn’t be comfortable without it.

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Cut to me watching 37-ish tutorials on YouTube about how to paint upholstery. I know…I was skeptical to say the least, but after watching video after video, I felt somewhat confident that I could do it. Worse case scenario, it doesn’t work and I rip out the back cushion and try to recover it.

I bought some acrylic paint (some video tutorials used latex), and some fabric medium. The directions were pretty simple: combine one part paint, one part fabric medium, and one part water. I did about 1/4 cup of each since the area I had to paint was actually pretty small. I chose a medium gray color for my paint because the cushions were pretty dark. I didn’t want to choose a color that was too light and have to paint 10 coats.

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The first coat was scary. I really started to second guess my choices at this point. The paint is pretty runny and it looks a lot like a stain more than a coat of paint. Also it is really important to let your fabric have a full 24 hours to dry in between coats. Another tip that I found weird, but necessary, was to sand the fabric in between coats with a fine sand paper. It sounds crazy, but it really helped the fabric to soften up and feel less stiff.

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Luckily after three coats things started to look a lot better. The pattern of the fabric still shows through, so if you don’t like the pattern on your upholstery, this is not a good option for you. Also, the upholstery is NOT as soft as it was originally. Even with sanding between coats, it ends up feeling more like a canvas drop cloth. Still comfortable to touch, just a little more stiff.

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After I reattached my cushion, I decided that the ivory paint was too basic and boring.  I just wasn’t feeling it. So I grabbed some gray stain and dry-brushed it all over the wood frame. Then I grabbed a sanding block and roughed up the paint around the edges and the spindles. I love that rustic, well-loved look on this chair.

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I haven’t antiqued much furniture, but I feel like it really works on this chair. I kind of want to find more furniture try it on…(more maniacal hand rubbing).

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Also, I saw this pillow at the back of the store all the way from the entrance. It was practically screaming at me to take it home with that bold navy and white print. Then I got closer and noticed the blush pink tassels and it immediately went into my cart. And yes, that store was TJ Maxx.

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I have to say, painting upholstery was not something I ever thought I would try, but I’m pretty happy with the outcome. Would I paint a comfy chair that I love to relax in or cozy up and watch a movie in?…Probably not. But it works for a chair we sit in occasionally for a short periods of time. I feel like it adds just enough farmhouse/shabby chic-ness to the bedroom and is a nice contrast to the dark walls and wood trim.

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No More Plain Jane

So our bedroom is NOT done, but I thought I’d share the progress that is happening. Other than painting, this room has been pretty neglected since we moved in. I really wanted to keep the deep, navy walls, but things were feeling pretty dark and cave-like in here. My goal was to lighten the space up and add some finishing touches to it so it doesn’t feel like everything was just an afterthought.

My first step in lightning up the room was to address the windows. I thought about buying new curtains that are a little more sheer, but I really liked the blue, heavier ones that we got when we got married. The baby likes to nap in our room and the curtains make it nice and dark when we want it to be. I decided first to take down the old roller blinds that were on the windows. They have been on the windows since we moved in and served their purpose for blocking light, but I really was ready for something that looked a little prettier (also they were broken and wouldn’t open up all the way). I hemmed and hawed as I always do when it comes to window treatments. I finally decided on 2″ wide, faux wood blinds in a bright white. I really love the contrast of them with the dark wood and dark walls. They are also super easy to clean and allow us to have a lot more control over how much light comes in.

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My next focus was the bedding, or lack their of. Our plain white bedding just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. It felt unfinished. I dreamt of white, fluffy hotel-like bedding, but instead our bed was looking more like something you would find in a college dorm room. So I began a hunt for bedding. I wanted something light, and something with some color and pattern to it. I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I change my mind often and I wasn’t 100% sure what I was looking for, so I just couldn’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on new bedding. Luckily I already had a down comforter that we liked and just had to find a duvet cover and some shams. I searched far and wide, but ended up on a steal at TJ Maxx….I honestly found like six choices there that all would have worked. I settled on this one because it didn’t feel too girly and had a little gray and a little aqua in it that would pull from other things already in the room. I’m super happy with it and it was only $30!

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I ended up back at TJ Maxx (I swear this isn’t an ad, I just love them!) and looked for some throw pillows to add more color and pattern to the bed. I love mixing color and patterns for more interest and I think it feels so much more intentional and sophisticated. I had to sneak a little pink in there in one pillow and also added a little to some diy abstract art on the walls.

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I still have plans for the other side of the room. I’m on the hunt for some sconces to replace the lamps by the bed. I also have a big chair makeover, that I’m nervously preparing for, and I have plans for the mirror (the one covered in toddler handprints) that I can’t wait to get started on!

My Own Corner Office…

Corner of the living room, that is.

When we moved into this house I had grandiose ideas of Brian and I sharing an office. A cozy little space where we could each have a desk and stare over our computer screens loving at each other…but I soon came back to reality and realized that it just wasn’t meant to be.

We have a great sized office, plenty of room for two. The problem is, my husband and I have very, very, very different work styles. I am a very visual person and I need my workspace to be clean and clutter free or I cannot focus on my task. And without throwing Brian under the bus, I will just say that he does NOT work that way. What looks like complete chaos to me, totally makes sense to him. He has a lot going on, and really needs all the room he can get. So for the sake of our marriage, I have graciously bowed out and given him full range of the office. Now I mostly just close the door and stay out!

I have been working on my laptop all over the house without any real designated space for myself. I had been setting up at the kitchen table for the last couple of years, but with two little ones and living out here on the farm, I feel like I am ALWAYS in the kitchen cooking, cleaning, and handing out snacks. So I started to search for a spot in the house where I could set up a little desk and have a place to leave my laptop and work stationed and not have to keep picking up and moving everything. I ended up stealing a little corner of the living room. It’s a nice, central location where I can see/hear the kids while I try to get some work done.

After I had my spot scouted, I just needed a desk. I wanted something pretty low profile that would fit in the corner of the room. I stumbled upon an old mid-century style desk in the attic. I really liked the size, and it was in good shape. It was also really lightweight (ie. easy to get down from the attic). Luckily it belonged to Brian’s mom and with her permission, I got it out and set it up while I tried to figure out if I should paint it or stain it.

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I decided to do both.  The desk is not real wood so I couldn’t sand it too much and stain it. So I used a polystain on everything but the legs and drawers. I love polystain, it’s so easy to use and added the dark wood color I wanted. For the legs and drawers, I just removed them and spray painted them black. I thought about painting the handles too, but I left them gold for now.

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It’s been really nice having my own designated work space where I can be creative and focus…and ignore all the shenanigans going on behind me in the living room. My only complaint is that I need a new chair for my desk. I love this chair that I’ve been using which I talked about here, but it really belongs in another spot in the house. It’s also only really comfortable to sit in for about 30-45 min. I need something a tad cushier. I’ve been looking a little bit and so far this is what I’m thinking. Not necessarily this one, but something similar.

If anyone sees something similar for a good deal, let a girl know!!

 

 

Reaching The Unreachable

Guys! The wall along the stairs is FINALLY painted and I didn’t die or break any bones!!

So as you know, I’ve been living with an almost finished paint job for weeks (so many weeks that I’ve lost count). We had everything painted except for one spot directly above the bottom 3 stairs. I was desperate to get to that spot, no matter what. We came up with a slight sketchy plan, that kind of freaked us out. It involved cinderblocks and more than one person holding the ladder…and we were not super excited about trying it.

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Luckily, we got rain here…lots and lots of rain. Which gave Brian a day off and led us to heading to Menards. We went in for something completely unrelated to painting, but Brian suggested we peruse the paint isles just in case we were missing some magical answer to our paint problem. We ended up grabbing a few gadgets that I haven’t tried before, but I didn’t have a whole lot of hope that any of them would help me reach the spot.

We grabbed a couple of things, one of them was this little corner roller attachment that goes on an extension pole. I wasn’t too confident about it, but for less than $4, we got it to try. I figured I could use it for future projects at least.

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It is super lightweight and the shape was perfect for getting into the grooves of the paneling as well as along the quarter round piece of trim that connects our trim and ceiling.

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You can see above that I got a couple of spots of paint on the ceiling. One of those spots is actually from our regular roller where I tried to reach and slipped. So only one is from this little corner roller. I will get out the ceiling paint and try to cover those up soon. I plan on taping my paint brush to the extension rod to do so. I used this trick in the pic below to finish up the wall paint in the few spots that the corner roller didn’t get to.

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I was super scared to try this with the paint brush, especially around the window trim, but it actually worked great. I definitely didn’t trust myself to get too close to the ceiling with it, but it did a pretty good job of filling in the gaps.

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Sorry for the super blurry Snapchat pic, but I was so dang excited for this moment!

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Here is a little less blurry pic of the after. You can still see a few lighter spots where the paint is still wet from my touch up.

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I can’t even put into words how happy I am to cross this project off my list! Especially without having to do any balancing acts on the ladder again. I am so happy to get the giant ladder off our stairs where it’s been living for the last couple of months. So far are really happy with the color…which is great, because I am NOT painting in here again for a long, long time.

Inspirado: Perfect Blue Bedding

First off let me just say, I LOVE an all white bed. When I picture my dream bedroom, it has a bed overflowing with fluffy, pillowy, white bedding. As much as it makes my heart go pitter-patter, I also have two small children who love to hang out in our bed and leave all kinds of mystery stains…

Other than painting the walls, buying a bed, and making over the nightstands, this room has kind of been neglected while I focused on other projects.  We have been living with just a plain white duvet insert on our bed for the past three years and I had every intention on finding the perfect white duvet to go over it, but just never really found one that fit the bill. After living with the white comforter every day for a few years and constantly washing and bleaching, I’m starting to realize maybe my white bedding dreams are just not meant to be right now.

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve shared any current pics of our bedroom, so here is a peek at what’s happening in there right now. I still have a lot to do in this room and I’m hoping the right bedding will be a good jumping off point for everything else. I want this room to have a modern farmhouse feel, as opposed to the blah feeling it currently has.  I’m for sure keeping the bed, paint, and the artwork over the bed, everything else can stay or go.

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I found a pair of plug-in wall sconces that I would love to replace our bedside lamps with. This is the only spot in the room that fits our bed and nightstands, so I wouldn’t mind some more permanent lighting here. It would also free up some much needed space and add some interest to the wall.

 

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My dresser was in the spot where the hamper is, but I recently moved it into the closet. The closet is an awkward, under the stairs closet and my dresser just barely fits but it has helped declutter our room a little bit. Before, it felt like you were walking right into it when you entered the room. The room is small and feels cluttered really easily, so I’m hoping to make it feel a little more open and airy. (I have plans for the this mirror above, and the chair below needs a makeover, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.)

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So…I am now on the hunt for the perfect bedding that compliments our modern bed, but also feels a little bit rustic.  Our bed is a dark gray tweed fabric, and it is the only gray thing in the room, so I would like to incorporate some gray into the bedding or with throw pillows or something.

Here is some of my inspiration so far…I’m leaning more towards the ones with a little beige and ivory in them, but man I like that bold water color one too.

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