A vintage glass doorknob DIY for under $14!

Home sweet home… it feels good to be back! Thanks to everyone for sticking around while we took some time off to visit Florida.

Our tile guy was supposed to start on the fireplace last week but he’s been working on another job so it keeps getting pushed back (the frustration!). We’re hoping he’ll start this week (or we may just have to find someone else).

In the meantime, I’ve been tackling some smaller projects. I finished one yesterday that I am so excited about, it’s worthy of its own post (updated after new reader info!)

Vintage hardware lovers… today is your lucky day.

So, remember how the downstairs door looked like this a couple weeks ago?

A while back we upgraded all of the knobs in this oval oil rubbed bronze style, which was fine, but once I painted the door black I wanted something that popped a bit more.

Vintage hardware has always spoken to me, and I’d be in heaven if all of the doors in our house could look like these…


But seriously, have you looked at the prices of these things? Most will set you back $100 or more, and if you plan to do a whole house… well, forget it. Not an option for us. Not only that, but most don’t fit with the modern 2 1/8″ bore hole size and you’ll need to completely modify or replace the door to get all the parts to fit. So not worth it.

I’ve been determined to find another way.  After much searching, I stumbled upon this glass knob set for the very reasonable price of just under $14.39 shipped:

The link is acting strange, you’ll need to copy and paste this into your browser to get it to work: atgstores.com/interior-door-handles/first-watch-security-1148-passage-door-latch-set_g946614.html 

(it comes in nickel and brass as well). To complete this project you only need the door knobs though (assuming you are happy with the color of your latch and strike plate). You can get the knobs easier, like this one for under $8 on Amazon or Home Depot (if you don’t mind spray painting the metal, or you can get the bronze for $10):

The problem with the complete door knob kit that I purchased is that it doesn’t fit standard bore holes (despite what the Q&A says). The screw holes are placed 2″ apart but the bore hole is 2 1/8″ so there’s nothing for them to screw into.

The solution is to buy these wooden inserts which you attach to the inside of your bore so the screws have something to go into:

But even those are way more than I wanted to spend, and more hassle than it was worth.

I had to come up with a solution… so after some pondering and google searching, I came across these back plates (also called escutcheons):

They were $13.98 shipped which I thought was a great deal considering my alternatives. And I knew I could easily customize them to get rid of the brass.

While writing this post, I found them at Amazon for $8.99 shipped and Home Depot for $5.80 shipped!

Now that I had all my parts, it was time for a little DIY.

First, I had to remove the metal ring on the holes because my spindle wasn’t long enough to reach through to the other side:

I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with the brass finish, so I started by sanding it down a bit (with 220 grit paper). There was a silver metal underneath which I let peek through.

Then I sprayed a light coat of satin black. I didn’t like how it looked up against the black door (which is a cool/light black) so I sanded it down and decided I liked what was happening (you can see the sanded plate on the left and unsanded on the right).

Then I dug around in the garage and found some gold and brown spray paint, so I started experimenting.

I added some gold and sanded a bit, and once I added the brown it gave it a subtle rusty effect which looked very realistic. After a bit more sanding, they looked like this:

Love! The whole thing only took about 10 minutes (including waiting for the paint to dry in between sanding).

Installation was super easy. The latch and strike plate were staying so I simply removed the old knobs, slid the new ones through with my new back plates, screwed the plates directly onto the door, and tightened the handle. Easier and faster than replacing standard door handles (and about the same price!)

I love the way the rusty color coordinates with my fall wreath. Happy accident.

Because I didn’t shop around enough (oops) my price came to just under $25 for everything, but if you buy the back plates for $5.80 and the glass knobs for under $8 on Amazon or Home Depot  (and use your existing latch and strike plate), you could get the same thing for under $14. That is seriously cheap for this setup.

UPDATE: A reader just informed me that they sell a kit like this at Home Depot for $19—it includes the mortise latch but you could just leave that out for modern style doors. Unfortunately I don’t live near one but that’s also a good option if you just want to buy everything together!

I would replace all of the knobs in my house in a heartbeat, except that I haven’t been able to find any vintage style privacy knobs that work with modern doors (and aren’t ridiculously expensive). Boo. If you know of one, let me know!

In other hardware news, I got my pendant pulls in for our sideboard—I found them on Ebay for only $3.50 shipped!

They came in brass, so a couple quick coats of black paint later and they’re perfect (and I was able to leave the key hole exposed!)

And that’s all for now. I have an almost finished project in the garage right now that needs my attention today… those of you who follow me on instagram got an early preview 🙂

In the meantime, we’re enjoying this beautiful fall weather that arrived right on schedule…

And after months of a dry spell, we even got some rain!

Unfortunately it was short lived, as it’s expected to climb back into the 90’s in a few days. But it did get me excited for fall.

I’ll be back at the end of this week to share, and *hopefully* will have an early fireplace update then as well. Fingers crossed!


Living room update & decorating for fall

Happy Monday! Is it starting to feel like fall where you are yet? It’s been in the upper 90’s here but that didn’t stop me from breaking out my autumn decor and jumping on this bandwagon. I’m slowly coming to terms with letting go of summer.

Last week I finished giving our sideboard cabinet a makeover and posed the question on instagram... which knobs?

It elicited quite a polarizing response… a lot of strong feelings on both sides. But one person said I should keep looking, and in the back of my mind I knew that was right. I didn’t love the choices they had at Lowe’s, but I had no other options at that moment so I impulsively bought two pairs and decided I’d settle.

Well, I changed my mind, took them both back and ordered these instead:

I love the look of pendant pulls, and these were only $3.50 shipped! I’ll probably spray paint them black. And that way I shouldn’t have to cover the skeleton key.

So that is why there’s no knobs right now…

As you can see I switched things up a bit. I took down the map print and pulled out a large mirror from storage.

I had the opportunity to visit Home Goods last week (drool) and grabbed this lovely fall wreath while I was there…

(I added the bow)

I also got to utilize my flea market scores from a couple weekends ago.

Like this awesome vintage scale.

And this cool rusted milk jug (which I filled with foliage from my dad’s yard).

And the two rusty metal boxes on the left for $1 each, as well as the red and black plaid blanket for $2.

I bought the lanterns ages ago when we lived in Florida—they’re filled with white pillar candles and mini pinecones.

The pumpkins I’ve also had for years (either Michael’s or Hobby Lobby).

After setting all this up, I finally figured out what I want to do with the staircase wall to the left of it. I’m going to find (or make) a beat up piece of wood and add coat hooks, then probably relocate the jug to the right (or just leave it empty).

Mid way through the photo shoot, Susie wanted in on the action.

This is one of her hiding spots.

It was a rare cloudy day yesterday (I almost forgot what c
louds look like) which made the mountains extra vibrant, so I had to look over and snap a photo…

We don’t get too many leaves that change colors in the fall because of the mediterranean climate, but it’s nice that our view is at least consistently green and full year round.

After sprucing up our sideboard for fall, I decided to tackle an easy project I’d been wanting to take care of…

This is the door to separate our lower level, and there was way too much white in this area.  It needed contrast.

I used the same paint color (Valspar’s Dark Kettle Black) as our front door and bedroom door in an eggshell finish. One by one, every door in this house will be black.

Rather than tediously taping it off (which never works perfectly anyway) I used Katie’s method of windex and a putty knife to scrape off the excess paint.

I had a nice short handled angled brush so I still tried my best to get a clean, smooth line so I didn’t have to remove as much in the end, which definitely helped. The paint came off so effortlessly, it actually ended up being easier to just use my fingernail under a paper towel for the smoothest line. I also avoided scratching the glass that way.

Here’s the new door:

Complete with a fall wreath I made a couple nights ago.

Oh yeah, I also had purchased a fancy glass knob but realized I need a retrofit kit to adapt it to the bore hole (why can’t they make modern door handles with glass knobs that aren’t $100? Argh) So, I ordered some backplates online and I’ll replace the handle as soon as I get them. Stay tuned.

I love how it ties into the front door. Yay for contrast!

And now for the big exciting stuff… our ceiling is finished!!

Our handymen worked on it Friday and Saturday and it all came together perfectly.

My dad and I quickly assembled the beams Thursday (using the same method as the kitchen and our bedroom) and they were up in no time.

They also added quarter round trim, caulked and painted:

And they’re just perfect.

Here’s my view right now from my desk:

And from the back corner of the room, looking towards the kitchen…

And looking back towards the foyer:

And this is what you see when you walk in the front door:

They really draw your eyes up and anchor the room. I’m so happy/relieved this part is out of the way.

Now… completely unrelated but I just had to share a daily dose of cuteness for your Monday. This little 4-week old furball is in our guest room as I’m typing…

I don’t know how I’m even at my computer right now instead of in there cuddling. Sadly, it’s not my kitten—we’re holding her for a friend who is moving today. But HOW CUTE is she?!

In less than 24 hours we leave for my favorite place in the country… Florida! I’m so excited to be reunited with my sister and friends for a week… and to remember what rain and non-freezing ocean water feel like… ahhh. Tiling on the fireplace won’t start until we return on the 24th, so there won’t be another post until that’s done (in at least two weeks).

In the meant
ime, you can follow me on instagram to see what I’m up to and join in on the Florida fun. Have a wonderful last week of summer!


Living Room progress report

We’ve been busy bees in the last week! Let’s talk about where we’re at now… starting from where we left off last week:

Right after that post went up, so did our mantel…
Unfortunately, and I didn’t realize this until it went up, but the wood isn’t perfectly straight. It a little twisted which means one side isn’t exactly level…
See how it angles upwards? It bums me out but unfortunately at this point there’s nothing I can do—short of driving back to the lumber yard, attempting to find a perfectly straight chunk of wood (does that even exist?) spending another $70, refinishing it and pushing back our timeline. Not going to happen, so we’ll embrace the imperfection by chalking it up to being more rustic. There ya go.
The TV will be sitting on this and we realized our tv base is wider than we thought, so we had to extend the mantel by adding a few inches to the back of it (which our handyman secured with huge lag bolts). This will all be hidden by the framing and stone.
Here’s a shot from the bottom:
Still figuring out how I’m going to hide the side where the bare wood is… either wood putty to blend the two and stain or veneer.
After the mantel was in, the framing went up (using 2×4’s):
Then Brad ran some cables to where the TV will be.
I asked him to give a writeup of what he did in case anyone is curious (I could never explain it):
1 – Power – We tapped out of the outlet next to the fireplace to get power up there so we ran ROMEX wire in the wall next to the fireplace.
2 – Network Cables – We ran two Cat6 network cables. One cable will extend the HDMI video signal from the AV Receiver in the network and audio closet to the TV over the fireplace. The second cable is just a standby
or data cable. It can be used for anything data related, internet, network, etc to any device next to the TV, or a smart TV in the future that needs internet. They are each 75ft long.
3 – RG6 Coax – For future use, in case someone wants to put a cable box physically at the TV, they can connect this outside the house to the cable splitter.
4 – Possibly might run Component RGB cables, if I have an issue with Video delay caused by the extender box.
Extending video from the closet – What we’re doing is splitting the output of the AV Receiver to the fireplace, and to the outside deck. To do this we’re using the Monoprice HDMI Splitter/Extender. This duplicates
the HDMI output of the AV Receiver and sends it to both places using CAT6 Network cable. HDMI Video will not run over about 50 feet without issues. The audio is straight out of the AV receiver in the closet to the 5.1 audio system
in the living room. 
Clear as mud? Great, lol. Moving along…
For our ceiling, I found a painter at the last minute and explained to him our situation with the pine knots bleeding through despite using shellac based primer. He decided to use something called PVA Primer which is used to seal porous surfaces (drywall) and apparently contains a plastic-like quality that should block the tannin from bleeding through.
Oh yeah, I noticed as they were prepping the area for paint that some of the knots had already started to bleed through! After less than a week! Thanks a lot, Zinsser customer service… let’s be clear: regular water based primers do not work on knots!
The painters sprayed a couple coats of the PVA primer followed by two coats of paint (Kelly Moore’s Swiss Coffee in a low sheen)…
Don’t forget, the beams will hide the ceiling seams.
The ceiling looks great but I’m still not convinced about the knot bleed through. We’ll find out soon enough, I guess.
After the paint was dry, Brad got up into the attic and finished wiring the lights and speakers.
It sounds so good in there! Now we can have music playing in every room. Fun stuff.
And the lights….
Seriously, you have no idea how much of a difference these make until you install recessed lighting in a room that had no overhead light sources before. It’s like a completely different space… we can actually use it at night now.
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of design. Don’t neglect it!
We have six on the ceiling and three along the soffit. They’re warm LED bulbs on a dimmer so we can change the mood with one touch of a button.
Here they are on the lowest setting. Kinda hard to tell from the photos but we love being able to control the mood.
While all of this was going on, I was giving our sideboard a little makeover…
I know not everyone agrees with me on this, but I’ve lived with it for a while now and it just wasn’t working out. Something about the glass bothered me and I just don’t like lacquered furniture. It also wasn’t some expensive rare piece in perfect condition so it’s not like I am modifying anything super valuable. 
Why keep something around if you don’t love it, right? No harm in switching things up to suit my needs.
I started by removing the glass which was held in by thin pieces of wood… super easy to remove:
Here’s what we were working with after removing the shelf:
It was brought outside for sanding. I used 80 grit paper (on my mouse—best sander ever):
The sanded areas look lighter because of the dust but it’s darker once you wipe it down. I spent a few days on this… sanding is a lot of work! Especially when there’s a lot of little details.
I didn’t know exactly how I wanted to finish it, but it started looking a lot like my au naturale dresser I recently made over in our master bedroom…
And I loved the way that turned out, so I decided to do the same for this one. That means no poly, no wax, just wipe it down and it’s good to go. 
I may very well change my mind in the future and add a coat of wax to it if I feel it needs it, but I’m digging the raw wood look.
These inspiration photos for the doors pretty much sealed the deal on chicken wire:

Don’t you just love these? I have no chicken wire in my house and it’s about time. Luckily, my dad had a roll leftover from his coop and gave it to me…
I didn’t have any specially designated wire clippers, so I used workman’s pliers and soldiered through it:
It’s not the most fun material to work with.
Once my pieces were cut, I did my best to straighten them out. This wire has a mind of it’s own and I haven’t quite figured out how to make it perfectly flat, but it’s not easy to pull it straight against your frame when you’re securing it, so you want it to be as flat as possible before installing. This was my best attempt:
Starting at the top, I used my hand stapler to secure them in place, working my way around the perimeter.
Many times the staples didn’t secure completely against the wire so I had to hammer them down. Soon after, I had this:
I like how subtle it is. It’s not in your face chicken wire.
Repeat on the other side, and this sideboard is (almost) done!
One of the knobs was missing when I bought is so I still need to find replacements. It’s times like these when I miss living near a Hobby Lobby.
I was going to fill it back up and shoot it all finished and styled, but then I started to pull out my fall decorations and decided to rearrange everything, so that’s worthy of it’s own post. I should have a post ready Monday. I promise, it looks a lot more exciting now than it does empty!
Thanks for stopping by… enjoy your weekend and feel free to follow along on instagram for what I’m up to in the meantime 😉


Living Room Reno: Progress & latest flea finds

Back with an update! Our handyman started work on the ceiling Monday and it has been a slow and steady process ever since. If you follow me on instagram you know this already…

To recap—we decided to plank the ceiling and install beams to match the kitchen in the adjacent room:

But since this ceiling is vaulted and 16′ high at the top, we couldn’t do it ourselves, so we hired our handyman (the same one who built our stair railing).

Step 1 was to buy our tongue and groove boards. I still had a stack leftover from the first purchase, so I bought 420 square feet to cover the ceiling (and it ended up being just enough, whew). It came to $570 after a 10% off Labor Day coupon.

Because the living room is a little under 24′ long and these are 8′ boards, we had to cut a few inches off each one. That was fun (not).

We covered the entire garage by standing them up to make them easier to prime.

We didn’t have to prime the entire boards, just the knots. Let me tell you, these knots are a nightmare. We didn’t use any primer for the kitchen and living room and within a few months the tannins started bleeding through.

We later added both primer and paint on top of them with no luck… it comes back within a couple weeks every time. So when I did our foyer makeover, I made sure to cover the knots completely with Zinsser’s BIN shellac based primer (which is supposed to be the best out there)…

Sadly, a couple months later and I can say it made no difference at all. It even bleeds through on the dark painted planks:

This was taken from my studio which wasn’t primed, but I’m sure it would have bled through anyway. You could argue that it just adds to the rustic-ness, but I’m not sold so we’ve been periodically touch up paint which only lasts for a couple weeks. It’s such a pain!

With this new ceiling going in, there’s no way we can get up there to touch it up so I wanted to make sure they didn’t bleed through. I called Zinsser and explained my problem, and they suggested trying to use their water based (1-2-3 in the blue can) first this time with the BIN oil based on top of it. I don’t trust water based primers to block tannins but I didn’t know what else to do so I gave it a shot.

We applied four coats of the first primer on every knot…

And covered that with a coat of the BIN…

Whew, that was a lot of painting. And no, I don’t feel confident that it will work. I’ve since talked to more painters and after some online research, have discovered new primers that are supposed to be fail proof. We haven’t hired a painter yet so I may pick up a can of specialized primer and have them hit the knots one more time before painting.

Back to the living room. This was taken during Day 1. We’re adding six lights and surround speakers so we had them run the wiring and cut the holes while they were up there.

Currently, it’s a bit chaotic in here…

But the planking is done!

This is a shot looking towards the kitchen (the smaller holes are for the lights and the larger ones are speakers). The extra three lights along the soffit was Brad’s idea…

Here’s the perspective from the fireplace looking back toward the stairs and my studio:

We picked up the wood for the beams yesterday so we’ll be building those soon and they’ll run along the two seams where the rows meet.

That’s all the progress I have at the moment. The guys are in the living room as I type working on framing out the firep
lace so that will be next! Unfortunately we’re having some issues with our mantel (the wood isn’t completely straight and we discovered it’s not deep enough) so I’m a little nervous about that. We’ll see how it all plays out.

In the meantime, I’ve been having some success at the flea market. I found this large vintage chest for $60 which will make the perfect side table next to the couch:

I also picked up this 45-piece dinnerware collection for just $30…

We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year so they’ll be perfect!

From the same vendor I got this lovely King sized bedspread for just $5:

The tassels match our navy bedspread and I love it. I have a thing for old blankets.

This navy pitcher was just $1…

And last but not least, we finally got ourselves a grill.

$140 with tons of extras, what a bargain.

We broke it in Tuesday night by cooking for friends & family…

Grilling season lasts a bit longer here in California so it will be put to good use before the year ends (hello, football parties on the deck!)

That’s the latest around here… I’ll be back sometime next week with another living room update!


Living Room Reno: Inspiration, Gameplan and a Fireplace Mantel

Yes, I’m still here—alive and well! Taking some time off to focus on work and soak up these last few weeks of summer. Luckily it will stay warm here for at least a couple more months (and hopefully bring some rain with the change in seasons… this drought is the worst!)

But back to decorating. It’s time to get serious about our living room.

Before I talk about the specifics, here’s what I’ve been pinning for inspiration…













Get the idea? A mix of rustic, cottage & farmhouse, open & airy, casual, calm, and most importantly, cozy. Just like the rest of the house, basically.

This is the current state of affairs…

I posted this photo a few weeks ago to ask for opinions on a slipcover solution. I listened to all of your suggestions and ended up making my final decision.

To keep costs down, I’m going to stick with the arm chair instead of getting another Kivik lounge. And nope, I’m not going to rearrange the furniture—after going through every possible combination, this layout still works best for us.

However, I’m ditching the footstool in favor of a large cable knit pouf, similar to this:

That way I won’t have to worry about the chairs not matching because they will be intentionally different. The white slipcovers will pull everything together.
I also changed my mind about the gray slipcover on the loveseat—that will be white as well.
It’s a soft natural white in linen so it doesn’t look too stark. And of course I’ll be layering in patterned pillows, blankets and furniture. 
I’m thinking a vintage trunk to the right of the loveseat…

A tree stump or two from our backyard in between the two chairs…

via Pottery Barn

And some light sources which have yet to be determined. It will stay nice and simple to let the real star of the room shine…

The fireplace.

There’s not much to look at now, but you just wait. In a few weeks (fingers crossed) you won’t even recognize it.

Our handyman (the guy who built our stair railing) is going to cover the brick by building out a base from 2×4’s, then a tile guy will cover it with cement board and tile it with stone all the way up to the ceiling. It’s going to be a show stopper.

Why not do it ourselves? Well, the ceiling is over 16 feet tall at the highest point and not only am I too chicken to attempt to tile that high, but we don’t own scaffolding. Some things are just worth paying for.

We’ve decided to go with the same quartz ledgestone we used on our bar wall in the kitchen:

The rooms are open to each other so it will be a nice way to tie them together, and it also pulls in the shades of gray and brown throughout the house. And while it’s not cheap ($8/sf), our fireplace is in view as soon as you walk through the door and the intention is to make it the focal point + heart of our home, so I’m willing to invest some cash to give it that extra “wow” factor.

And of course, no fireplace is complete without a mantel. I pretty much hit the jackpot with this one. Because we live in a tiny mountain town, logging and sawmills are everywhere, so a few days ago I took the truck out to one of them in hopes of finding “the one” (if you follow me on instagram, you saw the live update):

Acres of every type/shape/size of wood you can imagine. Piles upon piles of reclaimed wood… it was a DIY’ers heaven.

The owner quickly helped me locate the perfect timber (already the correct dimensions—12″ deep x 4″ thick—he just had to cut the length to 9’6″ to fit our fireplace width):

And it was only $70. I’ll definitely be back here for more.

Here it is back in the garage:

The raw wood was really rough and splintery…

I used my Mouse sander with some 50 grit paper and went over it as best as I could. Since it’s not your normal piece of treated wood, there’s no way to sand it smooth—I basically just took the furry parts off.

This made the color much lighter…

so I picked up some dark brown stain to give it a nice rich contrast against the light tile.

I used Minwax’s “Provincial” stain (the dark walnut I had turned it black) mixed with a tiny bit of weathered gray to lighten it a bit (this type of raw wood really grabs the stain so you have to go lighter).

Because the grooves were so deep, a bristle brush was the only thing that could penetrate the surface (normally I just wipe on using a cloth).

Here it is ready to be sealed!

It has to dry for 8 hours, then I plan to use a few coats of this matte poly:

So the mantel will be ready to hang next week. Now I just have to wait for our guys to do their thing.

But wait, there’s more!

This ceiling is getting the full tongue and groove + wood beam treatment as well…

When we were house hunting, a tall living room with beams was my number one request (aside from a killer view). I’m not letting go of my vision so now’s the time to do it. It’s going to be just like the kitchen (same materials, paint, etc), except with just two beams evenly spaced (8′ apart, the room is almost 24′ wide).

Here’s a shot of the kitchen from the living room, to see how they will look side by side:

It only seemed fitting to continue it into the living room.

Plus, we need to add recessed lighting and speakers (it’s so dark in there at night!) and there’s limited attic access above the ceiling because it’s vaulted, so the only way to do that is to cut out pieces of the ceiling from below to run the wiring. Now we’ll be able to just cover right over it with the wood planks and not worry about replacing drywall or patching—so it solves that problem.

Oh, and of course we’re not doing this part ourselves either. We’ll prep and cut the planks and construct the beams, but our handyman will be doing the install.

We also have to relocate the TV to the fireplace mantel…

Unfortunately, the cable is connected to that outlet and it has to be ran back outside and then inside to the fireplace somehow—Brad’s figuring that part out. However, because there’s an outdoor TV right on the other side of that wall, the cable box and receiver needs to remain there, so I’ll need to find/build a small console table to place under the frames (and I’ll have to convince Brad to move the outlet over so there aren’t ugly wires running across the wall…)

And finally, I’m giving this sideboard an update:

It’s a little too shiny and new looking for me right now—I see some farmhouse style in the future for this one.

Alright, that’s a lot of information crammed into one post, but now that it’s all out in the open I look forward to getting started! Timeline for completion is anticipated to be 5-6 weeks. I can’t commit to a posting schedule (partly because we’re relying on other people) but I will update as often as I can. Hope you can follow along and enjoy our newest transformation!


Master Makeover: The Reveal!

Today is the day! After almost 9 weeks of hard work (that’s it?!) our master bedroom makeover is officially over.

From the very beginning I had a vision for this space. My goal was to create a cozy, relaxing environment that blended my favorite decorating styles into a formula that was a unique representation of my personal taste.

Like any good reveal, we must remember the Before’s so we can appreciate the After’s.

After ripping out the carpet (and a wide angle lens, it’s really not this big):

This is my happy place—the spot I sink into every evening and unwind with a little family cuddle time. My place of calm where I go to recharge. The first glimpse I see in the morning and the last at night. I look forward to spending many hours here in the years to come… it will always be my spot of refuge—the most comforting place in my world. Welcome to our cottage-cabin-farmhouse-rustic-chic hideaway…

Those of you who have been following my journey will notice a few new things… like these sheepskin rugs.
They are heaven on your feet. Love them.

One for each side of the bed…

I also found some new bedding.

I love these simple baskets as an alternative to a traditional side table for which there’s no room…

Beside the bed is a quiet reading spot…

You may also notice a new floor lamp. It was actually the very first thing bought for this room but we’ve been using it downstairs.

This is also Susie’s hangout spot.

Biscuit has taken over the bed so Susie perches here to watch the bird show every day.

This “vintage” mirror makes me very happy.
What’s a romantic cottage french farmhouse bedroom without some candles? I made this holder using leftover wood stained gray and rope.
The view from bed…
This DIY chandelier is still one of my favorite things in the room.

Here’s a peek inside the newly finished vanity…

There’s also a couple entryway updates…

I added hooks for storage with simple printed numbers in vintage frames painted black.

The mood shifts when the sun starts to set and the lights turn on…

Biscuit in her favorite spot.

And Susie at a safe distance in hers.


Dark gray paint: Valspar’s Ocean Storm in eggshell
Light gray paint: Valspar’s Montpelier Madison White in flat
Trim paint: Kelly Moore’s Swiss Coffee
Flooring: Armstrong Engineered Walnut in Shell White
Jute rug: Rugs USA
Sheepskin rugs: Ebay
Wardrobes: Customized Ikea Pax 
Headboard: DIY
Navy quilt & pillows: Overstock
White comforter: Walmart
Sheets, bedskirt & throw: Target
Accordion lamps: Amazon
Woven baskets: The Container Store
Wire baskets: Walmart
Chandelier: DIY
Map chart: DIY
Vintage chair & antler plaque: Flea market/DIY
Dresser: Craigslist
Metal pitcher: Thrifted
Wire basket/books: Etsy
Floor mirror: Ikea/DIY
Bench seat: Overstock
Side table: Flea market
Floor lamp: Walmart
Throw pillow covers: Ikea & Etsy
Woven blinds: justblinds.com (in Tibet Oak)
Curtains: Custom made on Etsy

And in case you missed any of the action, here’s the full play-by-play in chronological order over the last two months:

The Master Bedroom Plan
Paint & Pax Wardrobes
Ikea Pax Door Hack
Planked bed wall
Trimming out the window
Beadboard ceiling, lights & speakers
Bedside baskets & accordion lamps
DIY Wood Beams
A chandelier transformation
A rustic vintage dresser redo
DIY paneled wall
Trim, Rug, Dresser & more
DIY Ikea to Vintage floor mirror
DIY Plain to paneled door
New curtains & a $12 DIY curtain rod
DIY map chart, antlers & chair reupholstery
Customized Pax Wardrobe Vanity

Out of all the spaces I’ve designed, I feel the proudest/happiest/most at home with this one. I’ve learned to decorate for myself. Don’t think you have to stick to just one style of decorating and don’t try to please everyone. Not everyone is going to love what you do, and that’s a good thing. How uninspiring would it be if we all had the same tastes and ideas and decorated the same way? To me, that’s what makes it fun—watching how others interpret a space and adapt it to suit their own needs to create something special just for them. I respect anyone who can do that and would hope others feel the same.

And on that note, things may slow down here for a bit. I’m turning my attention to the living room but  there’s things beyond our DIY capabilities and we’re going to have to hire out. Still in the planning stages so it may be a few days or a few weeks before I report back with progress (I also have to convince Brad to get on board which may be a challenge). Wish me luck!


Master Makeover: Customized Pax Wardrobe Vanity

This one’s for all you jewelry-loving fashionistas out there…

It has been a while since you’ve seen the inside of my wardrobe after setting it up two months ago:

Now that all of the work was out of the way, it was time for the fun part… filling it up & organizing!

I decided to use it as shoe/purse/accessory storage and a vanity area for my jewelry (makeup/hair/etc will stay in the bathroom).

Filling the drawers was the easy part, but organizing my jewelry took some planning. I found several little containers/storage solutions that were perfect for my earrings, rings and bracelets, but it took a while to decide on how to hang my necklaces. In fact, I just made the final decision a few days ago.

I knew it would make the most sense to utilize the side walls of the wardrobe, but I had one obstacle in the way:

The wire from the accordion lamp. This eliminated any chance of paper or fabric applied to the sides. I also wanted to hide it completely (along with all of the unsightly holes) and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money.

The answer was sitting in my garage…

I still have plenty of tongue and groove pine leftover from all of our planking projects, so it was free and didn’t require another trip to Lowe’s. I also loved the idea of bringing something rustic inside the wardrobe to tie into the rest of the room, and that it would contrast nicely with the feminine damask fabric rather than compete with it like another fabric or wallpaper might. It would also make a lovely simple background to display my necklaces.

After measuring the width and height of the walls (20″w x 38″ h), I trimmed my boards to size.

Because the front edge would be seen, I had to rip the two end boards down so they were nice and smooth on the sides.

To address the wire issue, I marked a hole at the bottom of the board and used a 1/2″ paddle bit to drill a hole:

Once the boards were ready to go, I stained them all dark walnut.

Since they lock together, it was super easy to get them into place as one big piece and nail them up. I used a handful of 1.25″ finish nails and it worked beautifully.

To make it look built in, I removed the pins that the top shelf was sitting on and placed it directly onto  the boards. It’s not going anywhere.

I decided on simple 1/2″ hooks to hang the necklaces and staggered them so they wouldn’t run into each other (nothing worse than tangled chains!)

At this point I realized that I didn’t buy enough hooks and had to use a few substitutes until I can get back to Lowe’s… try not to focus on this part.

Finally, I hung this lovely mirror I found on Overstock. I love the way the warm pewter coloring ties into the natural wood tones (it looks gold under warm lighting against the gray damask but it’s really not!)

And now everything is all set up and ready to go…

I found this vintage mirror tray on Etsy. Love it.

The milk glass containers are flea market finds and used to corral bracelets and stud earrings.

The frame is a 50 cent thrift store find with an old photo of my beautiful Grandma Louise.

A neighbor was selling this funky hand at a yard sale so I scooped it up for $1.

I used a 40% off Joann’s coupon to get this tiered metal earring tray for around $8.

Let’s explore the drawers, shall we?

Drawer #1 holds belts, scarves and hats:

Inside #2 we have purses:

#3 holds tennies, sandals & flip flops:

And at the bottom are heels and boots in the very back. I’ll reposition them when winter comes.

The baskets up top are pretty much empty right now because we have so much storage and not enough stuff. That will change once we reconfigure our bathroom/closet.

And that concludes my tour! The total cost to customize this wardrobe was only around $100 (not including the shelves and wire baskets). That’s a pretty sweet deal, I think. And I just love opening those doors up every day… it makes accessorizing even more fun. And that’s how it should be.

Now it’s time to get down to business and put the finishing touches on the room. Monday is the big reveal! Mark your calendars, you don’t want to miss this…



Master Makeover: DIY Map Chart, Antlers & Chair Reupholstery

Today I’m sharing a few quick and easy projects I completed this weekend while wrapping up the final details in our master makeover.

Project #1: Hanging Map Chart.
I’ve always loved these vintage school charts and thought it would be fun to recreate one…
During a trip to NYC last year, I found this amazing letterpress/stationery shop selling beautiful old posters and picked up a vintage reproduction map of France for less than $8(!). I wasn’t sure where I’d put it until the master bedroom started coming together, and thought it’d be perfect on this narrow wall between the bathroom and closet doors:
So I gathered my supplies, which included two wood dowels from Joann’s for around 80 cents each (which I cut to 20″ and stained dark walnut), some twine and hot glue (any strong glue will work).
I centered the dowel along the bottom, ran a bead of glue on the paper, and pressed them together firmly:
For the top, I tied my twine on either end and trimmed the excess…
Then glued it to the top. Took all of 3 minutes.
And I think it looks pretty authentic.
It just adds a little something to break up that plain wall of doors and no color.
When we remodel the bathroom, the doors and that whole wall will be reconfigured, but for now I am enjoying the simplicity of it.
Total project cost: $10
Alright… project 2: Chair reupholstery.
If you can remember back to a couple weeks ago, I picked up this antique chair at our local flea market for $5:
It makes for a sweet little accent next to the dresser. But it needed a seat, of course.
First I sanded it down a bit and applied a dark walnut stain (mixed with a hint of gray):
To make the template, I flipped the chair upside down on a piece of poster paper and traced along the inside as best as I could:
There’s a decent sized lip on the inside, so I drew around the circle around 1/2″ or so, and cut it out. Then I traced that circle onto a piece of plywood.
I cut the plywood with a jigsaw and set it down for a test fit…
Good enough. It would be covered with foam, batting and fabric so it didn’t matter that it wasn’t 100% perfect.
I have a bunch of leftover foam and batting from our kitchen bench seats, so I used that along with a steak knife to trim it to size:
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Then I flipped it over and stapled the batting onto the back.
I picked up a 1/2 yard of solid navy fabric at Joann’s for a couple bucks…
This part proved difficult since it was a round surface and pretty much impossible to avoid visible folds. I just did the best I could and used a ton of staples to try and flatten it out.
It just adds more character, right?
To attach it to the chair, I flipped them both over and drove a couple screws through from underneath.
Ta-da. Susie gives it the seal of approval.
I think this navy ticking stripe pillow works quite well with it.
Total project cost: $7.
Okay… project 3: DIY Antler Plaque.
I scored a few old antlers at the flea market earlier this year in hopes of mounting two of them on a plaque (I think they were just a few dollars each—our flea market is the bomb).
I thought our paneled wall needed something to take some of the focus off the TV and liked the idea of adding another rustic element, so antlers it is.
A $2 wood plaque from Joann’s, stain and a couple screws were all that was needed for this…
After staining the plaque dark walnut, I placed one antler in the approximate position I wanted it to be mounted and made a small mark underneath where the screw would be inserted.
Then I found a couple screws that were the right size, grabbed the appropriate sized drill bit, and made my hole:
I thought the bone would be really hard to drill into but surprisingly it went right through. Maybe because these antlers are older and less dense?
After drilling into both antlers, I did the same on the plaque:
Then from the back I inserted the screw partially, placed the antler on it and finished driving the screw in until it pulled it tight:
Easier than I thought!
Finally, I added a sawtooth hanger on the back to mount it.
And here it is.
Total project cost: $8.
And there you have it… 3 projects for a total of $25. Gotta love bargain shopping + DIY’ing.
And that’s all you get until the reveal 😉
Over the next few days I’ll be working on organizing the inside of my wardrobe/vanity area, which of course I’m super excited about. Check back Thursday for the details!


Master Makeover: New Curtains & DIY $12 rod

Happy Thursday! Before showing you this week’s progress, I have some exciting news…

Our sunroom was voted as the winner of Readers.com’s DIY Book Nook Contest! Thank you all SO much for your support, I’m shocked at the number of votes that came in! You guys are the best. And more good news goes out to voter #342, Carol Thibodeaux, who wins $150 in Amazon and home improvement gift cards and a kindle paperwhite! Thanks again to everyone who participated, I can’t wait to put my Lowe’s gift card to good use in our next project.

Now, let’s get back to the master makeover.

There’s just a few more things to do after tackling one of my favorite parts last night—window treatments.

Here’s the space a few days ago:

It was feeling a little cold and empty. I needed to bring some softness to the space, and flowy curtain panels are always great for that. Not only that, but this room has zero pattern (aside from subtle striped sheets). Everything is a solid color. Boring!

I knew from the very beginning that I wanted navy toile. I considered using it in the bedding but decided that it would be more commanding on curtains. Remember my mood board?

Yep, they were in there.

After scouring the internet for the best deals and coming up short (literally) when trying to find curtains long enough in the right fabric, I commissioned a seller on Etsy to sew some custom panels for me. I went with two 50×94″ panels and it came to $96 shipped (which is actually not bad compared to other places online). It was worth it.

Then I had to figure out how to mount these. I couldn’t use a traditional curtain rod because there was a wardrobe in the way, and the top of the door is 2″ from the ceiling. That meant I had to come up with a ceiling mounted solution. I found tons of tutorials on Pinterest using galvanized metal pipes and fittings, but even those methods would make the curtain rod stick out too far.

So I went to Lowe’s and found this 1/2″ copper pipe (in the plumbing section) for around $10:

It came in 10′ sections which was perfect, I didn’t even need it trimmed down. I preferred this over the 1/2″ galvanized pipe because a) it was $5 cheaper, and b) it was super light weight (the galvanized steel is so heavy!)

To hold it up to the ceiling, I grabbed a bag of these plastic U shaped brackets for a couple bucks (that makes this 10′ curtain rod around $12 total… nice!) I couldn’t find any metal brackets (I think those are in the electrical section) but the copper pipe is so light, and everything would be spray painted black so the material didn’t matter.

After giving the pipe a good buff with steel wool, it was time to paint.

I used a satin black for both the pipe and brackets (it’s shiny here but dries satin).

Once dry, it was time to hang!

Since we weren’t drilling into studs (just bead board & drywall) and didn’t want to deal with inserts, we used wall dog screws (best invention ever) which grip the drywall so well that you don’t need inserts.

We attached the first clamp all the way up to the corner of the crown…

Then a clamp in the middle to keep it from bowing…

Then a third a the end. The first end was in a corner and would be completely hidden by the bracket/curtains, and I used a small glass cabinet knob to plug the visible end.

When I was at Ikea earlier in the year, I picked up a couple packs of these curtain rings. I thought I might need them for the living room but that didn’t happen—luckily they were perfect for this occasion:

After trying out a few possible ways to hang them, I decided to clip them in the back so you wouldn’t see the clips.

It makes for a nice, clean look when hung. And I’m happy to report that the paint doesn’t chip off when the rings slide across (I think buffing with steel wool helped).

And here they are!

I snapped a couple
shots after we finished up as the sun was setting…

And then a few more this morning at sunrise…

There’s just something about navy and toile…

It adds the perfect touch of french farmhouse.

And also a bit of romance next to the chandelier.

Here’s a shot looking into the mirror…

Sigh. I’m just in love. Curtains make such a difference. Every week this room takes on a slightly different feeling with every change we make. It’s so fun watching it evolve. In less than two weeks it will be complete!

And on that note… I’m planning ahead for our next remodel: the living room. And I need your help.

The layout has been a challenge for me to solve because it’s not a very big space, and there’s a lot to design around (a wall of windows/walkway on one side, a fireplace and sliding door on another, stair railing/walkway on a third, and a really short wall on the fourth).

When we moved in, we just threw our furniture down and it has been this way ever since (excuse the really old photo):

Well, we decided to relocate the TV to above the fireplace, and after much consideration, I’ve finally settled upon our new layout…

Here’s where you come in. The couches are all getting re-slipcovered. I think I’ve decided on white linen for the chaise lounge and chair, and a gray linen for the loveseat.

I’m trying to decide if I should keep the chair & ottoman or replace it with a matching chaise. I would prefer them to match, but it’s an extra $250 or so (taking into account the cost of the slipcovers) and I’d have to make a 4 hour round trip drive to Ikea to pick it up (not a huge deal, but still…). Also, I can’t think of any other place to use the chair/ottoman (though it was a $30 craigslist find so not a big loss).

It’s a really comfy chair but then again so is the chaise. I mean, I don’t think they look bad together, and they’ll certainly look more like a set once they are slipcovered in the same fabric, but ideally they’d be the same.

Do you agree? Is it worth the extra $250 and trip to Ikea? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. I’m anxious to order my slipcovers within the next few days and get this living room remodel underway!


Master Makeover: DIY Plain to Paneled Door

Updates: Watch a time lapse tutorial of the process here and see the full room reveal here!

Checking another project off the to-do list today…

So, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do about our doors.

Here’s an old shot from the hallway:

After I painted the walls an almost white/super light gray shade, it just turned into the hallway of no color. I knew I needed to do something with the cheap hollow core doors but didn’t want to break the bank. In a perfect world, they would all be beautifully constructed and detailed solid wood, but there’s no way I’m spending that much on all of the doors in the house.

Then I gave our foyer closet door a makeover...

And I loved the results. It was simple enough to do to the rest of the doors in the house.

I briefly considered making them all stained wood, but that requires veneer (which is quite costly), so I decided to go with paint instead. I ran through a few gray options but decided they would compete with the gray in the floors, and then I saw this from Dear Lillie and was absolutely sold on black:


There’s just something about black doors that brings character, richness and sophistication to a space. It’s the perfect way to break up all the white and gray in our home. Plus, our kitchen and front doors were already painted black so it was an easy answer for me.

Fortunately, our bedroom door was completely smooth so I didn’t need to apply veneer over it (our foyer door had that faux wood grain texture which I covered with veneer). That meant that all I’d need for this project is a $12 piece of 1/4″ (actual thickness = 0.2″) plywood from Lowe’s. For the foyer I used the $30 cabinet-grade 1/4″ plywood because I wanted to stain it. The $12 plywood is in the molding/paneling section (next to the beadboard) and it is pink toned on one side, which is perfect for painting.

I’ve already covered the basic method for installing the strips which you can read about in my foyer door post.

It’s so easy though… just measure and cut, spacing your horizontal pieces out evenly, and secure with a nail gun.

Flip it over and repeat for the other side. You’ll need an arbor to drill out a hole for the door handle.

Once all my pieces were attached, I sanded down the rough edges with my Mouse.

Then I spackled the nail holes and caulked where the boards met the door for a seamless look.

After drying overnight, I gave everything a nice thorough sanding with finer grit sandpaper (including the actual door panel).

Since I added almost 1/2″ of depth onto the door, I had to remove the door stop casing or else it wouldn’t close properly.

To do that, you must first cut a line with a sharp edge on all sides…

Then pry the pieces off. Luckily these ones came off really easily (you can see the three pieces in the hallway).

Some of the nails will stay in the door casing which you can just hammer back in, and break off the ones stuck in the molding.

Then clear the built up caulk from the door casing and the trim pieces so it’s nice and clean for reinstallation:

I decided to hang the door back up first before painting it because 1) it was 100° in the garage, and 2) I could turn on the TV in our room to make it more enjoyable. It really doesn’t matter either way, you just have to be slightly more careful to not paint the casing.

I used the same black that’s on the kitchen and front doors, except in a satin finish—Valspar’s Dark Kettle Black.

I haven’t tried their new Reserve line yet, but I can’t imagine needing anything better than their Signature. The coverage is amazing… here’s after just one coat:

Of course the plywood took to it better than the painted white door—it almost covered in just one coat!

All it needed was two coats and a few touchups. Easy, fast paint job (excuse the poor lighting).

Black kitty approved.

Once the handle was back on, I shut the door and nailed the casing pieces back in place so the new door would shut properly.

Then I filled the nail holes and caulked it back in. (I still have to sand and touch up paint… that will be done tonight).

Ahhh… so rich.

It’s a little difficult to see the detail through photos (I have to bump up the exposure a bit, hence the grainy-ish pics) but it’s really lovely in person. Black doors are my new most favorite thing ever.

I love the way it ties into the wall paneling.

I’ll be converting all of the doors eventually. This hallway needs some loving, I know. One step at a time.

Alright folks…. 3 more master bedroom posts until the big reveal! I’m trying to decided which task to tackle next. Either way, it’s pretty much smooth sailing from here on out so I can relax for a couple weeks before moving onto the next big project.

Check back in a few days to see what happens!