Beautiful Before & Afters from the One Room Challenge

Now that the chaos of the One Room Challenge is over, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief and enjoy the best part—seeing everyone else’s transformations!

I’ve been keeping up with the other designers each week, but did you know there were also 240+ guest participants sharing their progress every Thursday? I recently had a chance to look through all of the final reveals and wanted to share a handful that caught my eye.

There’s so much inspiration floating around the blogosphere/Instagram/Pinterest these days and we only see a fraction of it, so let’s show these folks some well deserved love for what they’ve accomplished over the past six weeks!

Life on Hill Street

Before:

After:

What I love:

That cedar shingle wall treatment is perfection! I love how they decided on something outside of the box and just went for it. The chair swing is also a nice unexpected touch, and I’m in love with that rustic wood chest. I love that the room has a woodland theme but it’s very subtle and not overdone. So many gorgeous elements in one room. Bravo, Amy!

Room for Tuesday

Before:

After:

What I love:

Where do I start? The amount of thought and attention to detail that went into this is beyond impressive. It’s just as functional as it is beautiful—from that floor tile to the custom cabinet doors, the dramatic black accents and the fun oil paintings of their sweet pups (she painted those herself!) Sarah, you’re a rockstar.

Unexpected Elegance

Before:

After:

What I love:

The soft, muted color palette is a breath of fresh air! I love how Angela mixed patterns and balanced light with dark colors. Perhaps my favorite part of the room are those nightstand dressers—they were two completely different pieces that she stripped & sanded down to that gorgeous natural wood color, and now they coordinate so well! Proof that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on new furniture to get great results.

Vestige Home

Before:

After:

What I love:

This room epitomizes why I’m obsessed with sage green right now. Nicole has masterfully mixed cool greens with warm ivory and wood tones and textures in a way that feels light and effortless. It has a minimalist style yet it’s still rich with layers and interest. The custom built-in daybed makes me want to crawl in and spend the day reading, and I love how that rug ties it all together.

Daly Digs

Before:

After:

What I love:

Here’s the same sage green/ivory/wood tones color palette in a completely different setting. I love how Becky did something different than your typical black/white/gray patio and pulled colors from nature. The stained wood ceiling makes all the difference, and she did a good job of keeping it simple and not too overdone. The separate sections for dining and lounging create a nice flow and make it perfect for entertaining!

The Grit & Polish

Before:

After:

What I love:

Cathy’s designs always stop me in my tracks. She’s a wizard at effortlessly pulling together rooms bursting with vintage character and charm, and this nursery is no exception. I’m crushing on everything from the pastel color palette to the antique cane bed, the DIY night stands and family heirlooms sprinkled throughout. Oh, and that surprise crib nook! You know I love those unexpected details that make a room memorable. Cathy, you did it again!

Home Glow Design

Before:

After:

What I love:

This is just downright awesome—who wouldn’t want a ‘She Shed’?! Workspaces are often tricky to make both functional and beautiful, but Amy nailed it. I love the history behind this old building, the thoughtfully designed layout, and how she managed to organize it all in a way that looks bright and clean. I don’t know about you, but I could get a lot of creative work done in here!

Stevie Storck Design Co.

Before:

After:

What I love:

This one caught my eye because it’s so different than anything else out there, especially for a nursery. Of course that gorgeous mural immediately grabs your attention, but the vintage style wrought iron crib is pretty spectacular too. I wouldn’t have thought to pair those with a rich burgundy rug and mint velvet settee, but Stevie absolutely nailed it! Rooms like these are the most inspiring to me because they challenge you to think of designing in new ways.

 

Did you follow or participate in the One Room Challenge this round? Any room reveals that really stood out to you? I love that there’s such a wide variety of styles, and that we all have an opportunity to come together and share our own unique ideas—and hopefully gain inspiration from others!

Now that the challenge is over, I can get back to focusing on the other projects we’re juggling right now—our single family home, and the 5-unit we’re STILL under contract on. There have been a few developments with both, and Lucas and I are working on a vlog episode with those updates that should be posted on my YouTube channel later this week. Make sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified when that comes out, and I’ll do a follow up post here on the blog next week. In the meantime, stop by and say hello on instagram or facebook!


One Room Challenge: The Reveal

Six weeks of design and DIY have come down to this moment!

Now is the time to get caught up before you scroll down: Week 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Watch the Reveal Video below!

It’s a little crazy to think back to the beginning of this challenge when I was dreaming up a design for the great room of our new home, and had to suddenly abandon those dreams when it caught on fire.

At the time I was crushed—our lives had been dedicated to this renovation, and what were we going to do now? Do I back out of the One Room Challenge at the last minute without a Plan B? Those questions were quickly replaced with determination to continue on and make lemons out of lemonade. We were living out of boxes in a cramped, temporary apartment that had suddenly become not-so-temporary since we lost our home. So I decided we needed a sanctuary to get us through these next several months—a space that would make us feel like we were home.

Enter our bedroom:

It’s your typical apartment bedroom.

Vinyl floors, gray paint, a single small window.

Being an apartment, I couldn’t make any permanent changes like paint or trim (bummer).

We had no furniture when we moved to Florida in January, and ended up finding all of the pieces shown here second hand online.

Ahh… feels like just yesterday I was waking up to this cold, gray abyss.

Here’s the game plan I put together:

 

And now I present to you, our romantic, restful oasis…

It really is a completely different room.

These nightstands underwent quite the makeover, too! You can find more details about them in Week 4.

I was saving these mirrors for the reveal—what do you think? The original mirrors I had selected went out of stock, so I found these beauties from Bellacor and gave them a DIY aged finish (I’ll post a complete tutorial on that soon!)

I love the patina look, and the shape of the mirrors even mimic the curves on the door. Speaking of this door...

Be still my heart. It’s from Metrie’s “French Curves” line and is a match made in heaven for the antique door knob made by Nostalgic Warehouse (sold here). You can find out more details on both in Week 4.

And how about that perfect shade of blush pink? It’s called ‘Setting Plaster’ by Farrow & Ball. It’s always a little nerve-wracking selecting paint colors online, but the shade is exactly what I was hoping for. Don’t you worry, I’ll be taking these doors with me to our new home!

I spotted this very old antique desk on OfferUp a couple weeks ago, and it was mine for $50!

I love all of the history told through its imperfections. And how about that sweet striped linen chair from HomePop?

It fits right in with the style of the room, but I can picture these around our future dining table!

One of my favorite items in this room is this canvas map from Bellacor.

It’s a French antique reproduction and the level of quality + detail was better than expected—especially for the price!

Another special piece in the room is this old wardrobe I made over back in Week 2

Ivory and gold, what a classic combination.

I found these handmade ceramic jugs on Lamps Plus of all places, and love the organic touch they bring to the room (large vases are a necessity to hold those branch clippings!)

Another great Lamps Plus find are these fun wood-like textured lamps

It’s all in the details. Bringing in a little sparkle with this hand painted pink & gold tray from Jill Rosenwald:

But the focal point of this room is this grand tufted bed from Overstock…

And the floral sheets from Roostery? Obsessed. In the running for my favorite thing in the entire room.

Last week I shared my tips for styling a bed like a pro and all of the elements I used to bring this bed situation to life. Like the necessary things you don’t see—the low profile foundation, the memory foam topper, the extra fluffy comforter, and then the mix of linens like these quilted euro shams from Pom Pom at Home.

I love adding unexpected touches, like this lace bed scarf

Linen has to be the most versatile and luxurious bedding fabric. I chose a classic white linen duvet cover, also from Pom Pom at Home. Susie can’t get enough either.

The pink throw was from 4 or 5 years ago at Kohl’s, and the green quilt was a thrift store score.

One addition that immediately changed the feel of the room is this 8×10′braided jute rug from eSalerugs:

Rugs should be a requirement in every bedroom—it’s the easiest way to make a space feel cozier!

Another huge impact with a small change came from the window treatments. The small window got a facelift with bamboo roman shades (hung high on the wall), and plush velvet white drapes hung up to the ceiling on a pretty gold curtain rod:

It’s amazing what this trick will do to any window! And did you notice the beaded chandelier? Another unique Bellacor find that I love waking up to every morning.

These abstract art prints from Minted also greet us each morning…

They’re aerial landscape shots (my favorite) and I love the soothing color palette.

Well folks, that about wraps up the tour. It’s a small space, but when you fill it with things that inspire you and bring you joy… it’s really all you need.

This is the first apartment I’ve ever decorated, and while I did put some effort into making changes that I’ll have to switch back & take with me when we move… it was all worth it. Having a home you love is so important, no matter where you live, and it’s always worth the effort to make it your own.

As always, I hope you found something of inspiration to take away from this makeover. Tell me, what is your favorite part? Mine has to be those doorknobs, followed closely by the floral sheets. Lucas’ favorite is the bed and the map. But ask us again in a week and we might have a different answer 😉

The reveals don’t end here—there’s 19 other designers who are ready to show off what they’ve done!

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Bisou Style

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC

 

I’ve been pretty consumed with this project for the past few weeks, but I owe you guys an update as to what else has been going on with our houses, and life changes in general. It has been a rollercoaster over here and many things still hang in the balance, but I promise I’ll share some news soon 🙂


One Room Challenge: Week 5

It’s the second to last week of the One Room Challenge!

If you’ve missed anything so far, get caught up with Week 1Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4 first!

As the elements of this bedroom makeover continue to fall into place, we’ve reached my favorite part where it’s all about the finishing touches and styling. With the biggest hurdles like new doors and furniture makeovers out of the way, the last and most important piece remained—the bed!

Today’s post and video is a Bed Layering Guide, and I’ll be sharing the formula I use and my best tips when it comes to putting together your dream bed. Watch the vlog to get the full scoop!

The older I get, the more important having a really good, comfortable bed becomes. This 33 year old body of mine gets achy after just a few hours of DIY now (which I’ve been doing constantly lately) and the best feeling in the world is crawling into bed at the end of a long day. Your bed should be your sanctuary, so it’s worth spending some time on to get it right!

Before we can even think about the bed, let’s start with what’s underneath. I always recommend a rug, even if your room has carpeting. It will help define the space and make it feel more finished (and inviting!)

I can’t get enough natural fiber rugs in my life, so I picked out this 8×10″ jute braided rug from eSalerugs:

I use this type of rug in bedrooms all the time because they’re inexpensive, low maintenance and neutral enough to go with any style.

Now the big decision: the bed!

My motto on this is to go with one that includes side rails and a footboard—regardless of the size and style. It doesn’t have to be anything large or fancy, but I think a bed with four sides always feels the most complete and polished. I also like a headboard with some height which will help make it the focal point of the room.

I found this beautiful tufted bed on Overstock and couldn’t resist. I love it because it’s neutral enough to use with any style decor or bedding.

Upholstered beds like this are like the Mercedes and BMW’s of the bed world, in my mind—luxurious and sophisticated. It also feels very ‘grown up’, as if I’ve finally earned the right to sleep in one after years of a cheap metal bed frame.

If a four sided bed isn’t an option, at the very least you’ll want a nice headboard, and then you can use any metal frame and box spring and cover them with a bedskirt, like I did here in my California home (I feel like I’ve come a long way…)

After you’ve selected your bed, you’ll need to find the right size box spring. Did you know these come in many sizes? With the bed I chose, the side rail height is only around 4” from the slats where the box spring sits, so I had to find a low profile foundation that wouldn’t be exposed.

I found this 4″ platform (also on Overstock) which was easy to assemble and fit right into our newly assembled bed.

Now it’s time to add your mattress. We bought a used one a few months ago off Craigslist (it came with our old bed), and it was tolerable, but not exactly sleeping on a cloud.

If your bed doesn’t feel like pure heaven: do yourself a favor and get a good mattress topper! Luckily you don’t need to go out and buy an expensive memory foam mattress, because with a good mattress pad, you won’t be able to tell the difference. I promise they’re worth every penny (and they aren’t even expensive).

I chose this 4” Comforpedic gel foam topper on Overstock, and it’s honestly the softest bed I’ve ever been on.

There’s all different kinds out there with different firmness levels, so choose one that works for you (this one is on the soft side, which I like).

It includes a waterproof cover so there’s no sliding around:

Okay, now comes the fun part… bedding! There are so many ways to layer a beautiful bed, but there’s one basic formula I like to stick to.

First, you’ve got your rows of pillows. Up against the headboard, there’s the shams, then your standard pillows, then your accent pillow(s) in the front.

On top of the mattress you have your fitted sheet, then your flat sheet, followed by a duvet and finally a quilt or blanket.

When choosing each of these components, you want to focus on three things: material, pattern and color. There should be a variety of each so the bedding doesn’t fall flat visually, and the key is to layer these different elements together.

I like to use at least a few different materials—for example a cotton, linen, lace and something thicker and woven like I’m using on this bed.

Generally I’ll spot a pattern I love first, and that will become the inspiration for the rest of the bed (or entire room). I found this floral sheet set on Roostery and was drawn to the whimsical handpainted pattern. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Here’s a tip: with sheet sets, you normally get two sheets and two pillowcases, so don’t be afraid to break up the set! Especially if it has a pattern—try using just one of the sheets OR the pillowcases and you’ll end up with a variety of different looks.

After choosing your pattern, you’ll need a mix of a few different colors, and these should be pulled from your pattern. My sheet set has several shades including dusty pink and sage green, which I chose to use as accents throughout the rest of the room to tie everything together.

After choosing your pattern, you’ll want to break it up with a heavy dose of solid colors. White or ivory acts like a blank canvas and gives your eyes a place to rest, and it’s a very light and calming color, so I always make sure there’s plenty of it in bedrooms. These quilted euro shams from Pom Pom at Home were perfect for both layering color and introducing a new material.

I also found a sage green quilt at a thrift store and pulled in a blush accent throw pillow I had from storage. I like to limit my color palette to 2-3 shades, so I stopped there!

Now, every bed needs a big fluffy duvet so it has that nice and full look. I try to find the thickest duvet possible with the highest ratings online, and this down comforter from Overstock did not disappoint:

I placed the comforter inside this white linen duvet cover from Pom Pom at Home. Linen is one of my favorite textures for a bed because it feels so rich and luxurious, but still casual at the same time. Plus, I love the little ties!

That pretty lace fabric peeking out is a bed scarf, also from Pom Pom at Home.

Another tip—go up a size on your duvet, especially if you have a taller mattress! Most duvets will only reach to the bottom of the mattress. Or you can fake it and just pull everything to one side if you’re taking photos… 😉

Once you have your mix of materials, color and pattern, you can have fun layering them together in different ways. I spent all day switching things around, trying to find my favorite look. There is no right or wrong here, as long as you stick to the basic formula, you can experiment and see what your favorite arrangement is.

Do you have a favorite? I think I’ll be changing a few more things around before the reveal next week!

Loving this angle right now… I’ll never get tired of waking up to that pink door!

Or this lovely beaded chandy

Oh, and you can’t miss this last step! One of my styling must-haves is a good fabric steamer. I bought this one on Amazon based on the reviews, and it’s an absolute life saver. Wrinkles are your beddings biggest enemy (and they really stand out in photos) so make sure your fabrics are nice and smooth.

A few quick updates before I sign off… I listed the old bed for sale and it sold for full price ($330) right away! We’re 3 for 3 now.

(I took these photos before I had the steamer, see the difference?!)

I loved this bed and think it looked nice in the space, but the new bed feels more substantial and we’re much happier with our decision.

Oh, and I finally found my desk! $50 on OfferUp:

It’s very old and you can see the years of wear (the seller said it was appraised for $350) so I’ve decided not to touch the finish as originally planned.

And while we’re still on the furniture train, here’s one more makeover for you. I bought these cuties last month for $21 (one had a broken door):

All they needed were a bit of TLC, Maison Blanche ivory furniture paint and a coat of white lime wax!

Aren’t they the cutest? I can’t pull the trigger on listing them for sale. We’re never going to make any money flipping furniture if I continue keeping them all to myself 😉

And that’s it until the big reveal! You’ll have to excuse all the iPhone photos in this post—I’m hoping it’ll make the reveal that much more dramatic (my sister is letting me borrow her good camera & lens so I’ll be able to get much better angles!) This is about as good as I can get with my camera… honestly the bed is so much fuller and cozier in person. I wish I could invite you all over to test it out for yourself. You’ll just have to get past the termites 😆

If you want more updates before the reveal, make sure you’re following my instagram account where I post daily photo/video of the progress. The last week is a sprint to the finish line, but it’s my favorite part! I wonder if the other designers feel the same way…

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Bisou Style

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC


One Room Challenge: Week 4

Today I turn 33, and I’m celebrating by sharing a One Room Challenge update and picking up the perfect desk I found used online! You know you’re in your 30’s when making progress on your bedroom makeover is your idea of a good time 😀

Be sure to catch up with Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3 before reading on!

I mentioned last week that we were in a tough spot with our 5-unit bungalow, and unfortunately this was another rough week. I really want to share what’s going on but that will have to wait until there’s a resolution, which will probably take several more weeks. Yesterday was especially difficult, but today I plan to make the most of this day, practice gratitude celebrate another precious year on earth.

Easily the best part of last week was the progress I made in our bedroom makeover. Watch it all go down in this weeks vlog!

Not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous about installing these gorgeous solid wood Metrie doors that arrived the week before:

I’ve never installed slab doors from scratch like this, and after taking a year off of DIY, I feared my skills were gone. Determined not to ruin them, Lucas and I studied up on YouTube, bought a few tools, and set aside a couple days to take our time and do it right.

Now, you may remember, we are currently living in an apartment. We’re not allowed to make any permanent changes, but fortunately, doors are interchangeable so we can take these with us when we move out (you think I could leave these beauties behind?!) I get that this requires more effort than what it’s worth for many folks living in an apartment, but you have to understand that these doors were the one thing I was most looking forward to when I found out I was participating in the ORC. I had my heart set on them and couldn’t come to terms with giving them up when our house burned down. And after installing them, I have zero regrets! They make me so happy every time I walk into the room.

Moving along—Step 1 was to remove the old door. Good riddance.

The screws were in bad shape—painted over multiple times and stripped out. Luckily we were eventually able to pry them out (and replace them with functioning screws).

The easiest way to make sure everything on the new door lined up was to lie the old one on top and trace the hinge and door knob placement.

Then we lined up the hinge and traced the exact placement onto the new door.

This chisel was the most important tool in this project. We could not have done it without it!

Lucas was excited to relive his old wood shop days, so he took the lead. It didn’t look pretty, but it did the job.

A little bit at a time until it was a perfect fit.

After both mortises were notched on the door, we reattached it to the frame… and it didn’t close. Thinking it was a problem with our hinge placement, we made several attempts to move them around and even tried to bend the hinges (not happening) before accepting that the door frame just wasn’t square and the door was not going to fit. Sigh.

I was posting our saga in real-time on my Instagram stories and many of you chimed in to commiserate, saying that hanging doors is a science—and it’s absolutely true! Unless everything in your world is perfectly square, it’s not as easy as it looks.

We weren’t prepared for this problem. The proper solution would be to cut the door down with a table saw or plane the edge, but we had no table saw and I just knew I’d butcher the door if I took a planer to it. So we tried the only other thing that would work…

Chisel to the rescue! Luckily the door was only hitting in one spot and it wasn’t too major, so we were able to smooth down a section until it fit perfectly. We still need to sand it down, putty over to smooth it and repaint and no one will ever notice (trust me, there’s tile attached with duct tape in the bathroom in this termite-infested apartment and they plan to renovate the unit summer—a chiseled door jamb is the last thing this apartment cares about).

After the most complicated part was over, we turned our attention to the door handles. Cue the choir of angels…

I shared these gorgeous knobs in Week 3, but it’s worth mentioning again. I chose this combination from Nostalgic Warehouse, which you can’t buy directly from their website, but I did find it here on Amazon. Not cheap, but if you can swing the cost (even just on one special accent door) they’re one of those details that make all the difference.

The handles come with drilling templates, so we were able to easily mark our center points for the holes (I know they don’t line up in the center here, we had to try it a few times).

Luckily there’s a little room for error, which we needed because ours weren’t perfectly centered. The larger bore was made with a 2 1/8″ hole saw, and the small bore was with a 1″ paddle (watch the tutorial linked above to see this part in action):

The latch plate also had to be chiseled out, but by this time, Lucas was pretty much a pro at it.

I could hardly contain my excitement as it all came together…

Before we attached them, it was time to paint the door! I chose Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster in their Estate Eggshell finish:

I went back and forth on which color to choose (it’s so hard to tell online!) and got lucky—this was the exact color I wash hoping for!

It’s a soft putty peachy-pink and it’s perfect.

This door + handle + paint combo made all that chiseling worth it.

The painting party didn’t stop there—next it was time to tackle these night stands I found on OfferUp a couple months ago for $80:

From the beginning I had the idea to give them a vintage apothecary cabinet look, and chose Maison Blanche’s lime paint in Printemps:

It’s a pale sage green with a very unique powdery texture—almost like a clay that you can layer onto a surface and sand down to your desired texture. It’s nothing like regular latex paint, and quite different from chalk paint too. The texture takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s fun to experiment with and you can do some really interesting techniques once you get the hang of it.

It took between 1-2 coats to cover, and I gently sanded the surface to my desired level of texture (it sands off super fine like baby powder).

To protect the surface and give it a rich patina effect, I applied one coat of Maison Blanche’s chalk white lime wax.

This wax is also unlike any other I’ve tried, settling into every little groove and giving it an authentic worn look. Here you can see the wax applied to the drawer on the left, and before wax on the right:

There’s no buffing or reapplying involved—just wipe it on, let it sit for a bit and you’re good to go! This is the quickest furniture makeover yet, and I plan on experimenting a lot more with this wax.

Next, it was time to replace the hardware! I found these brass cabinet pulls for just 40 cents each on eBay!

I was wanting a gold finish though, so Maison Blanche to the rescue again. I used their Organza in Antique Gold, which is a thick metallic gel that can be applied to any surface (metal included).

I only used a tiny bit of what was stuck to the lid (I swear this jar will last forever!) and screwed the pulls onto the drawers.

How killer is this combo? I can’t get enough sage & gold right now.

Be still my heart…

I’m loving the way this room is coming together, but we still have a ways to go!

Our new bed has arrived and is waiting to be put together, along with new bedding, mirrors above the night stands, a rug, a new desk and accessories. It’s about 75% of the way there though! Here’s a little sneak preview of the bedding that has arrived…

I searched forever for the perfect floral pattern, and found it at Roostery. I can’t wait to start layering this bed!

Next week I’ll be experimenting with different layering combinations, and sharing some of my secrets to building the perfect bed. This is one of my favorite things to decorate, so I hope you’ll check back in and get some new ideas!

Signing off with one last “Before” and “In Progress” shot…

Oh, the power of paint! Off to see what the others are up to…

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Bisou Style

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC


2018 Spring Home Tour!

You know, the seasons are my favorite excuse to decorate. Especially come Spring time, when the frost begins to melt and you have a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm to start with a clean slate.

I’ve always looked forward to coming up with new ideas for the different seasons (like this fun Spring shoot I did a few years ago) and sharing them with you guys here on the blog. I also get so much inspiration from other bloggers & designers who do the same, and I realized how selfish I’ve been lately by holding my designs back from the world. There are people out there struggling who need those fresh Spring 2018 ideas, and what kind of a person would I be if I kept them all to myself?

This past weekend I finally took the time to shoot a video tour of our apartment, filled with new inspiration from our travels and a design style you’ve never seen before (I promise). I was worried it was too early to share it and that the world wouldn’t be ready for this, but I think you guys can handle it:

So… did you gain some inspiration? Or at least feel a little better about your own home? One day, we’re going to remember this termite infested apartment, the nights sleeping on the living room floor with a cat that has pooped and puked and stained our furniture, the amazon boxes piled to the ceiling because we thought we’d only be here six months but now we’re stuck here because our house burned down and it feels like we’re NEVER going to have our own home… and we’ll look back and say… look how far we’ve come. We think about this day all the time, and although it feels so far away, this time will be gone in the blink of an eye. We are grateful for every second of it—messes and all. I don’t know about you, but that’s all the inspiration I need 🙂

Have a beautiful Spring, friends.

 


One Room Challenge: Week 3

It’s Week 3, aka halftime at the One Room Challenge!

Make sure to get caught up with Week 1 and Week 2 before reading on! Not gonna lie, last week was a rough one. Not so much with the One Room Challenge, but our 5-unit bungalow (that we’ve been under contract on since January, ugh!) threw us a major curveball that has left us scrambling to save this deal. We’re still in the thick of it and hoping to have a resolution within the next week… but we’re not holding our breath.

On the topic of house updates—also still waiting to hear back from our insurance company with their estimate after the Heights House fire. This will determine our plans to repair vs rebuild the house, and basically our entire future rests on the news we receive about both of these properties. These first two deals as investors have been anything but a walk in the park. I’ll say it again—real estate is not for the faint of heart!

Fortunately, the One Room Challenge has become a fun escape from the stress. I get to bypass all the intensive DIY and focus on my favorite things like decor, furniture, and accessories. There’s one perk of living in an apartment!

Last week, we had completed a wardrobe and bed makeover. Here’s how it looked as of yesterday morning:

It’s crazy how something as simple as painting dark wood makes the room feel so much lighter visually.

This also reaffirms my decision to swap out the bed with upholstered linen—there’s just too many hard surfaces (plus, not feeling the matching bed and wardrobe!)

I can’t wait to roll out my woven rug from eSalerugs which will instantly warm up the space. Inside those two giant boxes against the wall are my framed Minted photographs which will add some much needed personality.

This week has been like Christmas, with boxes at our doorstep every day. Starting with these gorgeous solid wood doors from Metrie:

There are three of them in total—two closet doors and the entry door. They’ll be painted in Farrow & Ball Setting Plaster:

And… perhaps my most exciting unboxing experience yet (I may or may not have teared up in utter amazement)… these vintage reproduction handlesets:

Just imagine that door painted a pale dusty pink, with these vintage knobs… I CAN’T EVEN HANDLE IT (haha… see what I did there?)

They come in several styles & colors (fancy crystal knobs too!) and they don’t sell directly on their website, but I did find this combination on Amazon. Honestly I’ve never loved a piece of metal more and I don’t know how I’ve ever lived without them. I feel like I could just mic drop and end this post here, give you some time to recover and regain your composure perhaps… but the boxes keep coming.

Beaded chandelier!

We never used our fan anyway. Can’t wait to get this beauty installed!

How about this box of lovelies from Pom Pom at Home?

Inside we have two extra large quilted shams, a lace bed scarf, and a linen duvet cover. The bedding in this room will be so much fun to layer!

Next up… how great are these lamps?

Choosing the lamps was a bit of a struggle—I went back and forth on several different options, but in the end I’m thrilled with my choice.

The night stand will be painted a light sage green and I felt like there needed to be a wood tone somewhere, so this one struck the perfect balance of look, size and price point. Highly recommended!

Oh, and that map trying to photobomb the lamp…

I thought it looked nice online but it’s even better in person! It’s a vintage French reproduction, with pretty, muted colors on thick, quality canvas. It’s huge, too! I plan to hang it on a wall over a desk just to the left of this photo (still trying to hunt for a perfect used desk on Craigslist!)

And you may have noticed in the first photos, but ladies and gentlemen—we have window treatments! Behold the standard apartment blinds:

For the window treatments, I turned to Overstock. Since I can’t remove the blinds (well I could, I’d just have to put them back…) I decided to add a nicer looking bamboo shade mounted on the outside. And while I’m at it, I may as well go up a size to give the illusion of a larger window.

Hey, it worked! And no one will ever know…

Bonus: now it’ll be extra dark so we can sleep in on the weekends! (if sleeping in until 8am counts?) These bamboo shades have been my go-to window treatment for years. I especially like the coloring in this model, and at $44 (I got them in 39″w) you can’t go wrong.

But wait—there’s more! This bedroom desperately needed curtains to soften the space and help with that boho-french-romantic vibe I’m trying to achieve. Normally I just go for the inexpensive cotton curtains, but this time I decided to take the sophistication and luxury up a notch. Hello, white velvet drapes

These pictures do it no justice. I wish you could reach through the screen and feel how soft and thick this fabric is (it’s also blackout and fully lined—this room will be a cave!)

Lucas and I joked that between the lamps and window treatments, we finally feel like we have a grown up room again after over a year—can you believe it’s been more than a year since we left on our big trip? And almost exactly a year since we got engaged 😀

Here’s how it looks at night with the new ambient lighting thanks to the lamp. I chose this decorative gold curtain rod to hang them:

The room is looking a little too stark right now… don’t worry, this is temporary.

I was staring at that empty section of wall wondering if it needed something. Then I remembered I had this narrow mirror (it would be hung on the wall and repainted)…

Too much? I can’t decide yet. We don’t have a full length mirror so it would certainly be functional. I think it’ll be a last minute judgment call after some of the other pieces are in place.

Alright—enough unboxing for one post! Let’s move onto our latest furniture flip. I had something pretty specific in mind for this coffee table set:

This was a $30 Craigslist score, and I figured that with a little sanding and elbow grease, I could transform the natural wood finish into beautiful weathered oak (Restoration Hardware style). I’d done it before with excellent results—I even published a step by step tutorial on the process! This should be easy, right?

Lucas was tasked with the job of sanding the protective finish off of the pieces. Poor guy was out there for the better part of a day and was 2/3 complete before our Mouse sander finally gave out (it was the old version from years ago, so we were lucky it lasted this long with all the abuse I’ve put it through!)

The next day I went to Lowe’s and forked over $40 for a new Mouse, determined to finish the job. 

We finally finished sanding and I prepared my supplies—neutral colored lime paint and lime waxes.

It’s not the exact color used in my tutorial, but close enough. The wood didn’t have any pesky red tones so I figured it’d be much easier this time around. For those of you suggesting to just use a stain—that does not remove the original tone of the wood, it just adds to it. Paint is the way to go to neutralize your wood tones!

I mixed 50% water with 50% paint and began to brush. It got rid of the orange… just not evenly. You can see my test piece on the bottom compared to the original sanded top.

We figured the problem had to do with uneven sanding, even though we sanded for hours. Whatever finish they used on the wood appeared to be a mix of some sort of lime wax and a clear coat that seeped deep into the grain, and made it really difficult to sand away—not only that, but you can’t even tell which parts were fully sanded until you applied the paint wash.

I tried to remedy the situation with more paint and a mix of liming waxes, but it just turned into a blotchy mess.

It’s fine if you want a rustic whitewash effect I suppose, but that’s not the look I was after. I could have continued sanding and experimenting, however, the table legs were in a much worse situation:

It was difficult enough to evenly sand a flat surface—but these curvy legs? Forget it! You can see the dark areas that were sanded more than the others after the paint wash was applied, and there’s no way to get into those narrow grooves to take off the layers of whatever finish they used. Time to throw in the paint stained towel on Plan A!

I was still determined to keep some of the wood grain, so ultimately I decided to stain the top and paint the bottom. Oh if I would have just thought to do this from the beginning. Another lesson learned!

After a few more hours of sanding and resanding to make sure the tops were all nice and even, I ran back to Lowe’s and picked up stain and poly:

The color of the oak was so light and neutral that I knew it would take the stain well and look similar to the can. And I like to use a (water based) poly or varnish to protect heavily used furniture that’s exposed to moisture.

I brushed it on and held my breath…

And they turned out as expected. Finally!

Then came the paint (Maison Blanche in ivory):

And finally, poly! This is how they look now as I type this post:

Just need to swap out the drawer hardware, have a little photoshoot and list these babies on Facebook marketplace. Fingers crossed for another quick sale. I’ll be sure to update you next week with the results—or you can catch them in real time over on my Instagram stories.

Oh, and there’s no vlog today (thanks to the failed DIY attempt) but I have something even better for you coming tomorrow. Just you wait… you’re not even gonna know what hit you.

Now let’s go see what everyone else is up to for Week 3!

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Bisou Style

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC

 


One Room Challenge: Week 2

Who is ready for another week of the One Room Challenge?!

In case you missed the first week, you can get the scoop here.

I’d love to show you a bedroom that is 1/6th of the way to a big, beautiful reveal… but instead it’s a mess of paint products, tools and tarps—and we’ve been sleeping on a mattress on the living room floor with our confused cat for 4 nights. Speaking of, did you catch our Spring Home Tour on Instagram?

While on the surface we’ve taken a few steps backward, we’ve made progress in our new furniture flipping venture! Watch it all go down, including our furniture refinishing process and the Before + Afters in this weeks vlog:

And meet our first project:

A $20 coffee and end table set (found on OfferUp) that had seen better days. The shelf on the coffee table was in need of repair, the wood was stained and the veneer had chipped off in several places. Nothing a little elbow grease couldn’t fix.

We were doing everything by hand at this point (I finally found my Mouse sander in storage a few days later) so it was a long and arduous process. It has been a while since I’ve refinished a piece of furniture, so my skills were a little rusty. Between patching, sanding, painting, sanding, fixing some mistakes, repainting, sanding, waxing and then fixing more mistakes, it took us three solid days to complete this set. Fortunately, there’s no primer needed with this paint, so that saved us a huge step!

Still not the encouraging first experience we were hoping for. By the end of it we were rethinking all of our choices to embark on this new venture, but we had an entire apartment filled with old furniture that had to go.

Once the job was finished, I took the opportunity to clear out a corner of the living room for my first styled shoot in over a year! Oh the joy…

Seeing this happy completed space was an instant mood lifter. It’s amazing how a little effort makes a huge impact on your overall well-being.  This is why I do this. 

The pieces were painted in 3-4 coats of Maison Blanche La Bonne Terre (a soft white-grey putty shade), lightly distressed and sealed with Maison Blanche amber wax—PS, you can finally order Maison Blanche paints online!

I listed the set on Facebook marketplace for $175 and was swarmed with messages—sold at full price within hours! It’s amazing what well staged photos can do for a sale.

When you break it down, Lucas and I probably spent around 15 hours each from start to finish. That profit breaks down to $5.17/hr per person… folks, don’t quit your day job to do this full time 😉

With our hopes slightly deflated after the first experience, we started the weekend with a new attitude and a plan to tackle two more items in our bedroom. This bed was our first purchase after moving to Florida—we found it on Craigslist for $60 and paid another $60 to have it delivered.

I just love the vintage charm and initially I had every intention on keeping it for the long haul, however 1) the new room design calls for something fabric and plush to break up all of the wood pieces, and 2) the frame is too long for our mattress so our pillows constantly fall behind it.

As sad as I am to see this bed go, there’s plenty of other similar beds in the sea (I spot em all the time locally) and we have no room to store an extra bed, so I decided to let this one live its’ best life and get it back out in the world with a brand new look.

This wardrobe I picked up for $45 on OfferUp. I couldn’t resist that beautiful wood detailing.

Don’t be fooled by its looks, though—it’s actually cheap veneer and particleboard that’s falling apart in the back. But the front is irresistible and I wanted to make her shine.

Before getting started, we made a trip to Lowe’s to stock up on a few essentials.

You can never have too many sanding pads or foam paint rollers (foam is required for a smooth finish!) I stocked up on 80, 120 and 220 grit for my Mouse (I’ve had the old version for 5+ years and it still works great!) along with my favorite paint brush in the world—the $5 short handled angle brush (smooth lines every time!)

The spray primer was purchased as a ‘just in case’ for tricky items with lots of small detail that would be tough for a brush to reach, but we haven’t needed it yet. But the most exciting thing in that shopping basket is this dainty wood applique:

When I bought the bed back in January, an applique was the first idea that popped into my mind to give it that extra touch of charm. To apply it, I first sanded the surface of the bed for better adhesion. We then measured our center line, dabbed some E6000 glue to the applique (wood glue works just as well) and hammered in three small finish nails (we don’t have our nail gun here but hand tools work just fine!)

Super easy! And with that, it was time to start painting. The bed was in great shape and didn’t need any patching, and there is no priming or sanding required with Maison Blanche paint (talk about a time saver!) Honestly if I was using latex paint and had to prime and sand all of the furniture—I’d never do it, it’s just not worth the effort!

Lucas and I figured this would take all weekend and be as exhausting as the coffee table set, but this time it was actually enjoyable. Maybe our expectations were curbed? Or perhaps it was the lack of patching all the wood holes & trying to sand them smooth by hand? Either way, we finished painting both pieces entirely on Day 1!

For these makeovers, I decided to keep it simple and go with ivory paint from Maison Blanche. Bright white would be too stark for these vintage beauties, and when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a neutral hue. Here’s the bed after one coat:

The best way I’ve found to paint furniture is to use the foam roller on the flat surfaces (basically anywhere it will fit) and come in with the brush to reach all the uneven crevices (like the spindles and around the applique).

Meanwhile, the wardrobe got its first coat of the same ivory paint (watch the video for a timelapse of this process!)

The surface of this piece is veneer that had some staining, bubbling and cracking. I spent a few minutes giving it a light sanding in some of the rougher areas to minimize the texture a bit. Very different surface than the bed, but it took the paint just the same.

The goal is to get a nice and even coat, and we let it dry for a couple hours in between. Before adding the next coat, I came in with a 220 grit sanding block and lightly went over the surface to eliminate any imperfections/dirt/fuzzies left behind from the roller. This makes the paint velvety smooth and sets it up nicely for the next round.

Depending on the wood type and how thick your coats are, 3-4 coats are needed for full coverage. Here’s the bed after 3:

We gave the furniture one final pass to make our touchups, and we were done before dusk!

Now onto Phase 2—time to decide how to finish off the look.

The wardrobe was an easy call—with the inherently imperfect surface of the veneer and the antique detailing, it was just begging for a lightly distressed finish. This part is my favorite…

A gentle hand sanding with 120 grit paper does the job. I tried to create an even overall wear throughout the piece so it looked naturally worn over time.

SO PRETTY. I just love it.

The bed on the other hand… I was on the fence. I normally lean towards adding some kind of distressing, because I prefer those “imperfect” pieces—who wants to constantly worry about accidentally scratching their painted furniture? Let’s just embrace it, right?

But in the end, I will be selling this bed and I realize that some people prefer a cleaner look. Plus, they can always go back and add distressing later.

Distressing or not, all furniture needs to be sealed and protected. For indoor furniture like this that won’t be exposed to a ton of surface wear or moisture, wax does the job. I wanted to simply enhance the natural ivory color rather than change it, so I used Maison Blanche‘s Amber wax for both pieces:

Wax will slightly deepen the paint color, so keep that in mind when trying to determine your final output. You can see the difference of the bare paint vs the wax below:

And here it is on the bed—before and after:

I gave the furniture two thick-ish coats (no buffing it out, just letting it dry in between the two coats). It will need to dry and cure for a while before subjecting it to use—I like to wait at least a few days.

I kept the existing wardrobe hardware and gave them a couple coats of champagne gold spray paint from Lowe’s:

And here’s the finished bed (excuse the lighting—it’s difficult to see the true colors with so many different light sources!)

Not bad for a day and a half’s worth of work…

We’re going to hang on to the bed for a few more weeks before selling it, but I don’t think I can part with that wardrobe! No plans to let it go anytime soon 🙂

Honest opinions here—how much do you think the bed is worth? I thought I priced the coffee table set high at $175 but I had people fighting over it within hours, so I guess I need to raise my prices. For the bed I’m now thinking somewhere in the $300-$400 range. Let me know your thoughts below!

Next week I plan to finally tackle those wood night stands. I’ve been dreaming about this makeover for weeks. If you missed any of our furniture refinishing process/details, make sure to watch the video which explains and shows the process a lot more. And I’m always posting live updates on my Instagram stories for every project, so check there frequently! I’m starting to think that the more we do this, the more fun and easier it gets 🙂

Now head off to the other participants to see how their week went!

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Style Me Pretty Living

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC


One Room Challenge: Week 1

And so it begins… welcome to Week 1 of the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge!

Last week I made the announcement that I’d be participating again, but I didn’t reveal which room. Any guesses….? Watch this week’s vlog and find out!

Originally, I was looking forward to using the great room at the Heights House…

You can imagine the pressure of scrambling to figure out a Plan B when the house was destroyed just two weeks before the event was scheduled to begin! Do I drop out of the ORC and leave everyone hanging? Can I find a new room and come up with a design plan on such short notice? Well, they don’t call this the One Room Challenge for nothing—bring it on!

I’m excited to announce that the room I’ve officially decided to make over is…

Our bedroom! We’ve been living in a temporary one bedroom apartment since we moved to Florida in January, expecting to move into our house in July when our lease was up. Well, that’s not happening anymore, so we might as well make the space feel cozy while we’re here!

We’ve been so busy focusing on the renovation of our house that we haven’t bothered to make this apartment feel like home at all. We moved in with nothing but an air mattress, and I bought a few pieces of used & inexpensive furniture online, with the hopes to eventually refinish them.

I found the bed on Craigslist (I believe it cost us around $120 delivered?) and haven’t had the time to paint it, but I think it’s better suited for a future guest room.

The night stands were an OfferUp score for $80 and they have so much potential—they’ll be the first item I tackle in here! Above them, flanking the bed I’ll hang two pretty vintage mirrors.

This beauty was just $45, also found on OfferUp—how gorgeous will it look with a few coats of paint?

On this empty wall I plan to put a small desk & chair so we don’t always have to work from our bed:

I also plan to swap out all three boring hollow cores with custom solid wood panels from Metrie:

On the empty wall across from the bed, I’ll hang some large scale art along with a vintage coat rack:

The window will be updated with some new blinds and curtains.

Above the bed the plan (as of now) is to build a small shelf, and the fan will be swapped out with a beautiful beaded chandelier.

I was really hoping to go all out with picture frame moldings, trim and paint on the walls, but my apartment manager vetoed the idea so I can’t do anything permanent. That’s the biggest challenge of all for me—not having complete creative control! This is the first apartment I’ve ever decorated so it will be interesting to see how far I can go without making any permanent changes (I’ll have to remove the chandelier, blinds/curtains, doors & shelf when we move out).

On the flip side, this could be inspiration for my fellow renters out there who are dealing with restrained designing too! I’m determined to make this work, and to make these temporary walls feel like home as we spend the next year rebuilding ours.

Here’s my vision board for this space. I’m dubbing it the “French Bohemian Bedroom”…

(Coming up with descriptive names is my favorite :D)

Here are some of the key elements I’ll be using:

Bed from Overstock

Floral sheets from Spoonflower/Roostery

Bedding from Pom Pom at Home

Rug from eSale Rugs

Doors from Metrie (painted in Farrow & Ball)

Door knobs from Nostalgic Hardware

Chandelier from Bellacor

Art from Minted

Chair from HomePop

Mirrors from Bellacor

Lamps from Lamps Plus

Hanging Map from Bellacor

Blinds from Overstock

Curtains from Overstock

Vases from Lamps Plus

DIY night stand makeover

DIY desk makeover

DIY wardrobe makeover

DIY wall shelf

I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all comes together, and to share my progress with you all each week! It feels amazing to be back in my zone, dreaming up room designs and brushing up my DIY skills.

Did you know you can get in on the action, too? Take this opportunity to finally tackle that space you’ve been putting off, and join us as a guest participant! It’s a great way to stay accountable and we can all cheer each other on!

Make sure you check out the 19 other participants and see what room they’re working on…

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Style Me Pretty Living

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC

I’m off to see them now—this is gonna be a great season… I can feel it!

 

 


One Room Challenge: Round 2!

It’s official—I’m coming back for another round of the One Room Challenge!

You may remember my first time at this, back in Spring 2015…

That six week renovation was certainly a challenge in many ways, but after a year out of the interior design game I am SO READY TO BE BACK!

I have been keeping this a secret for a while and had everything in place for a massive renovation of the Heights House, but as you know, that went up in flames 10 days ago along with all of our plans. But when there’s a will, there’s a way—and no fire’s gonna stop me from moving forward. Bring on the challenge!

The fun and games officially kick off next Wednesday, April 4th, and will run for six weeks until the big reveal on May 16th.

This season, I’m joining 19 other talented bloggers—many of which are new faces to me!

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Style Me Pretty Living

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC

And you can join along too as a guest participant! It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable to finally tackle a room you’ve been meaning to cross off your list, while having a community of other designers & DIY’ers to cheer you on.

I can’t wait to get this party started after so long, and I hope you’ll check in with me each week to see the progress! Tune in next Wednesday to see which room I’m transforming 🙂

 


Our house caught on fire

As many of you saw the news on social media over the weekend, our Heights House caught on fire Friday night.

We found out by a call from our neighbor at 10:30pm, and raced to the scene to find the road blocked off and lined with fire trucks and police cars. Thankfully, no one was inside and no one was injured, and the fire department was able to contain it before it spread to the neighbors. We feel incredibly lucky because it could have been so much worse.

The investigators were able to confirm that it was an electrical fire, and pinpoint the location it started in the ceiling. Our electrician had installed a new panel and shut the power to the house off the week before, so we’re not sure how this happened. He was scheduled to come Tuesday to replace all of the old wiring, so we were just a few days short of preventing it.

We were able to walk through the house that night and it was difficult to get a good look without any light, but the next morning we came back to assess the damage. It’s worse than we thought.

Fortunately, we are insured under a construction policy, but neither of us have been in this situation before and we’ve been hearing horror stories about insurance companies and their policies.

It looks like the house may be a total loss, so at this point we are just hoping they’ll work with us so we can start over from scratch.

After the initial shock wore off, we’ve managed to stay hopeful and positive that everything will work out for the better. In the grand scheme of things, this is just a bump in the road, and it will surely make us stronger.

The hardest part for me is the dissolution of everything we’ve been working on for months—all of the dreaming and planning that went into this home, our very first home together and that we were supposed to start our family in.

We were finally starting to see our hard work pay off and our vision come together, and now it’s gone. We have to start over, and we don’t know how long that will take or what it will look like.

But I know all too well about the beauty that comes from the ashes, and I feel at peace knowing that our silver lining is on the way. We can’t wait to come back better and stronger than before!

We put out a quick vlog update this morning which includes our feelings about everything, plus video of the fire scene and the aftermath:

I’m not sure what this means for the blog and vlog content, but I’ll keep posting and updating you all as we go. You can find me on instagram and facebook where I’ll be posting frequent updates, and more in depth video and vlog episodes on YouTube. I hope you’ll continue to follow along as we begin to put the pieces back together. Thank you all tremendously for your love and support—we’ve felt it from across the world and are incredibly grateful to have so many people who care! Onward we march…