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:
< a href=”http://blog.jennasuedesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ae365-img_4414.jpg” style=”margin-left:1em;margin-right:1em;”>
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!


Master Makeover: DIY Floor Mirror—from Ikea to Vintage

I’ve got a fun project for you today…

We’ve had this Ikea Mongstad mirror for as long as I can remember. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just a little too plain and modern for my ever-evolving taste. I’m trying to incorporate more vintage/farmhouse style pieces into our home, and only keep things I really love. This mirror wasn’t special—it was just taking up space.

I’ve been drooling over these beautiful mirrors everywhere on Pinterest…


Such lovely detail…


So the other day as I was browsing the trim aisle at Lowe’s (my second home), an idea popped into my head when I spotted this fancy molding…

I could simply attach it to the mirror by framing it out and I’d have my own vintage-esque shabby chic mirror. Easy.

Originally I had planned on going all out and adding detail around the outside and inside edges, but when I started adding up the costs, I decided to scale back a bit. The pieces range anywhere from $15-$20+ for 8 feet, and I needed three pieces to make a single rectangle around the perimeter. (Note: this is not a cheap DIY project).

I ended up selecting three pieces of the expensive molding (at $19/peice) and cut costs using primed MDF baseboard for the second row (I already had some at home so I only needed two pieces), and then two pieces of skinny detailed molding which were just $5 each. The total came to around $75.

After laying out my pattern, it was time to start cutting.

The fancy molding was actually crown, which meant the edges were angled and not straight. I wanted the trim to line up flush with the edge of the mirror, so I ripped it down with my table saw.

Here you can see the uncut molding on the top, and the ripped piece below it.

Once those pieces were all ripped, it was time to make my cuts. Simple stuff—45° the whole time.

The mirror already had a seam on each angle so it was easy to see where the molding should line up.

I worked my way around the mirror, piece by piece, and used my nail gun to secure them in place.
Then it was time for the next row—the baseboards.
In order to get the third row to fit without overlapping, the baseboards also had to be ripped down 3/8″ or so. After trimming those to size, I attached them to the mirror, the same way I attached the first section.
Finally, I finished off with the inside pieces.
After everything was secure, it was time to spackle the nail holes and caulk all the seams.
Once dry, I used my new BFF to get everything nice and smooth:
After vacuuming up all the dust, it was time to paint!
I applied a couple coats of Kelly Moore’s Swiss Coffee in satin using my angled brush and let it dry:
To give the mirror more of an authentic vintage look, I had to distress it. I wanted little peeks of black showing through (like my detail inspiration photo earlier) but the wood underneath wasn’t black, so sanding it wouldn’t give me that result. So I grabbed a q-tip, a can of Minwax’s ebony stain, and dabbed it on randomly:
It didn’t matter that it was on top of paint, it still stuck surprisingly well.
Once dry, I went back over it with my brush, letting hints of the stain show through in certain areas.
I wanted the distressing to be subtle and this method worked quite well.
And here’s my special new “vintage” mirror in the room…
I don’t think $75 is a bad investment to get this type of detail… big floor mirrors in a similar style are sold for a whole lot more.
And it makes me happy. So that’s definitely worth it.
Next in line for a facelift—this plain jane door:
That’s what I’ll be doing this weekend. Hope yours is just as exciting!
One quick matter of business… if you’ve been thinking about picking up one of my Cityscape posters, now is the time! I’ve teamed up with Touch of Modern to offer my most popular Cityscapes at 25% off for the nex
t five days only:
Join here now to take advantage of this flash sale and get an instant $10 credit towards your order!
Have a happy weekend, friends…


Master Makeover: Trim, Rug, Dresser & More…

We’ve been quite busy in here the past few days! On Thursday I showed you our panel wall, and here’s how it looks after mounting the TV and bringing the dresser in…

I ended up swapping out the original hardware with some $2 pulls from Lowe’s. I like the simplicity much better.

Saturday morning I scored some cheap finds at the local flea market…

This antique chair was just $5 and fits perfect in the empty space beside the dresser. It doesn’t have a seat, but that’s an easy fix which I’ll get on ASAP.

I also found the perfect side table next to the bench—an old wine barrel for $5.

Speaking of benches… I ended up choosing #3.

It was between that and number 2, and I’m really happy with my choice. In the end it just came down to color and fabric—I had my heart set on linen.

You may also notice the addition of a rug…

Rugs.com had their big summer sale so I snagged this big 8’6 x 11’6 jute rug for just $233 shipped—insanity. Yes, it’s the same one I have in the studio, dining room, and living room…. but it’s amazing and I can’t help myself.

It seriously helps warm up the space.

And now the major game changer… adding trim!

I bought almost $200 worth of crown, baseboard and quarter round to take care of all these unfinished edges that have been driving me crazy for weeks. We bought the easy crown with the built in corners so all you had to do was straight miter cuts—no confusing compound angles involved.

They were given a couple coats of the white used everywhere else in the room (Kelly Moore’s Swiss Coffee in semi gloss).

We made sure to miter the edges where they came together to help minimize the seams.

Some parts were tricky…

Over the wardrobes, the gap was too large for the crown so we added an extra piece as a base using scrap wood:

If you recall, here’s what we were working with before:

And now… ahhhhh.

The chunkier baseboards also made a difference. Before:


And the quarter round in the corners really finished things off nicely.

Now, if anyone remembers the
original plan for this room, you may be wondering why we haven’t added a fireplace where this mirror is.

It’s something I’d still love in the future, but at this point I decided to hold off and focus on other areas (like our living room fireplace which is in desperate need of a facelift). Not sure when it will happen, but I’m enjoying the mirror here for now.

Someone asked to see the panel wall and plank wall together in the same shot—well, it’s a little tricky since they are on opposite sides of the room, so here’s the best I can do:

I’ll post a video for the reveal so you can see how everything works together.

I think they play quite well together.

This room is looking almost finished, right? Not so fast. Here’s what’s left on the to-do list:

1. New bedding. We’ve had this quilt and comforter for-ever and they don’t fit our king bed properly. 
2. Curtains. I’m having them custom made on Etsy and patiently awaiting their delivery. I plan to bring in some color & pattern here and soften the hard lines going on.

3. This empty wall. I’m still making some decisions, but it will be brought to life soon.

4. This panel wall. I’m not going to clutter it up, but there is one project I want to hang on the right side of the TV. And of course the chair needs a seat.

5. The entry wall. I plan on hanging a couple hooks and, well, you’ll see…

6. The door. This is probably the biggest project left. I’ll be adding the same paneling as our foyer closet door, but it will be painted black.

7. Organizing inside of my wardrobe/creating a vanity area. It’s going to be jewelry heaven up in there.

8. This mirror. It’s a little plain… I’m going to fix that starting today.

I also have a couple small decor surprises I’ll throw in before the big reveal (gotta save something for the end, right?) So as you can see, we still have a ways to go. Hopefully I can knock it all out within the next few weeks. Better get started on that mirror now—back to Lowe’s I go!


Master Makeover: DIY Paneled Wall

On Monday I mentioned we fell behind a day and I’d have to split this project into two posts. Well, I kicked it into high gear over these past few days and I’m happy to report that this project was finished last night, right on schedule!

Those of you who saw the updates on instagram know this already…

Let’s get to the details.

Here was the wall before.

When you walk into the room it’s on your right (across from the bed wall).

There’s a little entryway that I included in this project…

Here’s the view from our bed.

Alright, so when I spotted this online, I fell in love:


So rich and interesting and sophisticated. And seemed easy enough to pull off.

In order to achieve this look, I needed a completely smooth base so our highly textured walls had to go. The easiest and most inexpensive way I’ve found to do this to cover them with these thin sheets (0.11″ thick) of this hardboard at Lowe’s. They’re only $9 for a 4×8′ sheet… so cheap!

I picked up four of those of that plus two 4×8′ 1/2″ thick MDF panels to rip down for the strips.

The most important part of this project is planning. Seriously—you have to be thorough and meticulous.

Before I bought anything, I laid it all out on my computer to scale and this is what I came up with.

The second section on the top right is the smaller/entry wall. The two rectangles at the bottom are how I’d cut my MDF sheets, and they are color coded to make sure there was enough to cover both walls. Everything fit nicely onto two sheets and I even had some leftover.

I made the top piece 1.75″ thicker, because that’s the height of the crown molding I’ll be running along the top—that way all the visible strips will be the same thickness.

The vertical gaps were consistent all the way around, but since the entry wall is narrower, the horizontal gap was shorter—not a big deal at all.

I also planned out the particleboard sheets to make sure I had enough:

I already had narrow section leftover from our window trim project, so I just needed four more to fill the rest. Perfect.

The total came to just under $95 (after my 5% Lowe’s credit card discount) which I think is pretty amazing. The only other items needed are caulk, spackle, and paint (and of course nails and a nail gun) which I had so this project is a huge bang for your buck.

Time to get started. After clearing everything out, we had to address our TV situation. A few weeks back we had an electrician relocate the cable, hence the holes in the wall (it was coming out of the window wall on the left from outside and ran across the floor… no bueno).

We had debated on keeping the TV on our dresser or wall mounting it, and decided to go ahead and wall mount it to get all the wires and cables out of sight, free up dresser space, and for an all around cleaner look. I could take it or leave it, honestly, but it makes Brad excited so it was worth it.

We trimmed the first panel (after measuring and cutting a hole for the outlet with my jigsaw) and nailed it into place with our brad nailer and 18ga nails (no liquid nails!)

At some point I double checked my measurements and realized I made a critical error which left me with a large gap that wouldn’t be covered by the vertical board (this is the setback I talked about Monday).

So, I had to scrap the board and run to Lowe’s the next day for a replacement piece. But we forged on with the rest of the installation…

This paneling part was actually the biggest challenge in this entire project. Working with
4×8′ sheets of anything is not fun (as learned in our ceiling beadboard attempt… aka the worst DIY project in history)

It’s a challenge because you have to make sure it’s completely flat up against the wall, and you secure it to the wall in a specific pattern so no air bubbles can get trapped… all while holding it steady up next to the other piece.

And because walls and floors aren’t straight, your panels won’t line up exactly in some places but that didn’t matter at all since the seams would be hidden by the MDF boards.

We also had to cut around the beams which got a little tricky at times, since they aren’t perfectly straight. But I got it close enough to where you can’t really tell.

Before putting up the last board, Brad installed these outlet housings for behind the TV.

Then the fun part, trying to cut the panel so it lines up perfectly with both holes and the beam and other panels.

To make life easier, we cut that panel down into a narrower strip (which would be covered on both ends by MDF boards).

And finally, after 2 days, Phase 1 was complete.

Fortunately it only got easier from there. After ripping down our boards into 4″ strips (and two into 5.75″ for along the ceiling), it was onto Phase 2.

Before installation, I lightly sanded the edges to make sure everything was nice and smooth. Then I just nailed it up… super easy!

I measured and marked where my next board would go, and used a level to ensure it was straight.

A couple of them ran into beams, which I notched out using a combination of a miter saw and jigsaw.

It went by fast… nice and easy.

After the vertical pieces were in, I started with the horizontals, making sure to measure for each gap as they all varied slightly.

This part was simple too. You just have to take your time and measure carefully.

This is the fun part, when you start to see your vision come to life.

There was only one roadblock here… cutting around an outlet. I used my jigsaw—it would be completely hidden behind the TV so it didn’t really matter.

Brad later added a couple blocks over the studs where the TV mount would secure to (this will all be hidden, don’t worry).

About 4 hours later it was done (this was just me, so with two people it could go a lot faster).

Time for Phase 3… spackle, caulk and paint. This wasn’t so bad either. Not nearly as time consuming as I thought.

I added a 90° edge piece around the corner to hide the seam.

I used fast drying caulk so I could paint the same day, and used my Mouse hand sander with 240 grit sandpaper to smooth out the dried spackle.

After thoroughly wiping everything down with damp rags, it was time to paint! I recruited Brad for this one—he rolled on the smooth edges (with a cabinet grade foam roller) while I cut in.

By the way, I’m getting much better at not having to use tape. I cut in the entire thing (around the beams, walls and floor by hand. Having an awesome short handled angled brush is so important!

I used the same paint from the plank wall behind the bed (and in the studio)—Valspar’s Ocean Storm in an eggshell finish. It dries so fast and it’s amazing.

A couple hours later, our wall was complete.

Now, all that’s left to do is swap out that old outlet, add quarter round in the corner, and crown molding. This weekend I actually plan to trim out the entire room (finally), including baseboard, quarter round in a few places and crown molding. It’s going to look so nice and finished… I can’t wait.

We’ve already mounted the TV and tonight we’ll bring in our new dresser and start setting up that wall. Our rug is also here so that will be set up this weekend as well. Lots to look forward to on Monday!


DIY Book Nook Contest (& a quick bedroom update…)

Stopping in today for a rare Tuesday post to share some exciting news! Readers.com recently contacted me about using our Florida Sunroom in their upcoming favorite reading nook contest and I happily obliged:

I’m up against some pretty awesome bloggers so I’ll need everyone’s help for this one! It takes just a second to enter, and if I win, one of you will win three awesome prizes too…

How to Enter

Visit Readers.com’s blog (here) to select the reading nook you want to win! Remember, you can enter up to one time per day.


The blogger whose reading nook design receives the most votes will be selected as the winner of the contest. An individual who voted for the winning design will also be selected, at random as a winner. Both individuals will receive the following (amazing!) prizes:
  • $100 Home Improvement Gift Card
  • $50 Amazon.com Gift Card
  • Kindle Paperwhite

Official Rules

  • You may vote for your favorite reading nook once per day beginning 7/15/2014 through 7/29/2014. You must provide your email address each time you vote.
  • The blogger whose design earns the highest number of votes will win.
  • Anyone who voted for the winning blogger will be entered into a pool for a chance to win the voter prize package.
  • The winner of the voter prize package will be selected at random and will be contacted by the email address they provide.
  • Contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada.

Those are some great prizes and would go a long way in helping us finish off this master bedroom. Speaking of which, last night we completed Phase 1 and I snapped a photo on instagram

It’s a little confusing right now, but hopefully tonight I’ll make some good progress to share with you in a couple days.

Have a wonderful Tuesday—be back soon!

How to Enter

Input your email address in the quiz form above and select the reading nook you want to win! Remember, you can enter up to once a day.


The blogger whose reading nook design receives the most votes will be selected as the winner of the contest. An individual who voted for the winning design will also be selected at random as a winner. Both individuals will receive the following (amazing!) prizes:

  • $100 Home Improvement Gift Card
  • $50 Amazon.com Gift Card
  • Kindle Paperwhite

Official Rules

  • You may vote for your favorite reading nook once per day beginning 7/15/2014 through 7/29/2014. You must provide your email address each time you vote. 
  • The blogger whose design earns the highest number of votes will win. 
  • Anyone who voted for the winning blogger will be entered into a pool for a chance to win the voter prize package. 
  • The winner of the voter prize package will be selected at random. 
  • This is a contest. Odds of winning depend on eligible entries received.
  • Contest is only open to residents of the United States and Canada.
  • No purchase necessary to enter.
  • Winners will be notified via email.

– See more at: http://www.readers.com/blog/diy-re


Master Makeover: A rustic vintage dresser redo

It finally happened. I’d been stalking every local thrift/antique/furniture store and local online sale sites looking for the perfectly sized and shaped unpainted wood vintage dresser to replace this Ikea one in our bedroom…

I’ve been looking pretty much daily this whole year and had zero luck. I was desperate and willing to pay more than I planned on. And then, last week, it came out of nowhere.

It was just what I had envisioned. And it was only $90! I hit the jackpot. An hour after I spotted it online it was in my garage and disassembly had begun.

While the style/shape/size were perfect, I wasn’t a fan of the finish. I don’t mind warm wood tones, but this thing was a very outdated shiny reddish-yellow hue that would never work for our style.

So I started gathering inspiration…




As you can see, rustic was the goal. Painting would have been so much easier, but I definitely wanted to keep the wood tones. Our room really needs a more distressed/farmhouse style piece to break up all of the clean, painted woodwork.

FYI—this project was very time consuming + labor intensive, and was completed over the course of a week as I couldn’t handle more than a few hours at a time.

The dresser was in pretty decent shape, but there were lots of very obvious scratches:

I had planned on sanding it down to the bare wood so this didn’t matter at all.

There was a thick layer of varnish so that had to go first. Instead of sanding it away (which would quickly clog up the sandpaper), I grabbed a hand scraper and got to work.

So very tedious.

I finally decided I had enough and busted out the paint stripper. I picked up a new can of liquid stripper (on the right) to try out, and it was worthless. Stick to the paste/gel!

Here’s the gel, doin’ it’s thing…

It makes scraping much easier, but it also doesn’t take up as much so I was still left with the reddish stain (whereas the scraper alone could get down to the bare wood).

And the drawers…

Oh yeah, stripper is probably the messiest stuff you’ll ever work with.

Here’s all of the drawers, de-varnished.

The sides were a huge pain. The wood
was different than everywhere else and it did not want to let go of the varnish, even after two coats of stripper.

Mid-progress… bear in mind it was also 100° in this garage every afternoon. I had old sticky paint stripper and sawdust stuck all over me the whole time (so glad this project is over).

After several days, I had finally all of the varnish removed and it was time to start sanding.

But first I used my scraper to roughen things up a bit and give it that weathered look.

As soon as the sandpaper hit the wood, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It really diminished the old red stain.

Ahh… bare wood!

Looking much better. The legs and trim pieces were different types of wood than the sides, top and drawer fronts so they sanded down to a nice colorless wood, while the rest retained most of its natural red tone, which was a little frustrating.

This one jumped up mid-sanding and rolled around on it for 30 minutes. She’s in love.

After I deemed it sufficiently sanded, it was time to stain. I used a concoction of dark walnut, driftwood, and weathered gray and began to apply….

And I was not a fan.

I thought the gray would combat the red tones, but instead it intensified them and made everything pinkish looking. Huge fail.

All I could do was sand all the stain off and try again. I was a few hours into it, and then tragedy struck…

He was working overtime for this project and just couldn’t handle the pressure any longer.

So I ran to Lowe’s, and my life was forever changed…

Seriously, I’m kicking myself for not getting one of these earlier. It’s night and day from the old hand sander—I was blown away at how well it worked, especially for this project where there are so many small crevices and detailed areas where the other sander just couldn’t cut it.

Finally things were starting to look up, and I was able to finish sanding all that stain off in no time.

Knowing that any stain I add would bring out the red again, I decided to go au natural and embrace the mostly-bare wood tones.

But I still wanted to seal it somehow… so I picked up this wax, hoping for a coating that wouldn’t be visible so I could retain the old weathered look.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

You see the little orange spot on the corner? That’s after buffing out a bit of wax, and it turned it red again. It doesn’t look so bad in this photo, but trust me, it was right back to where I started and I didn’t want to go down that road again.

So I’m leaving it natural. Any dings and scratches will just add to the character. Amen to farmhouse style.

I reused the original handles as I don’t mind them, but I’m open to swapping them out. It might be a little tricky since the drawers are curved though.

er all the ups and downs of this project, I’m happy with the end result and can’t wait to move it in the room to see how it looks! For now it has to stay in the garage, because we’re currently in the middle of transforming the wall. Here’s a little idea…

Ignore the colors, obvs.

We’ve already ran into an issue which set us back a day, so I don’t think it can be completed by Thursday. That means it will be broken up into two parts, and I have a couple more room updates along the way. If you can’t wait until then, be sure to check my instagram for real-time progress!

Alright, better get to work…


Master Makeover: A DIY Chandelier Transformation

How’s this for a Transformation Thursday?

Best $45 ever spent… I can’t stop staring at it!
This fixture was originally hanging in my current studio when we bought the house (it’s probably the one thing we were actually able to salvage from the home, woohoo!)
I neglected to take an installed Before photo but you can see it at the top of this one when we first stepped inside this house:
After removing the glass shades I saw some potential.
It sat in storage until a couple weeks ago when I started to formulate my plan. If ever there was a place to add some romance and sparkle, a master bedroom is it. We’ve added a lot of architecture and hard surfaces to the space so far—now it’s time to balance that with some softness and set the mood.
The recessed lighting has completely transformed the feel of this room (I could go on forever about on how important lighting is), so this is yet another way to control the atmosphere, and why not also make it a focal point in the room?
Once the plan was set in motion, I headed to Pinterest to find tutorials as I had no idea where to began. Pinterest fell pretty short here… I only found a few and they weren’t that detailed, leaving me to mostly try and figure it out on my own.
I did find a great online source for inexpensive crystals—Cristalier.com.
After sketching out a rough idea and using string to lay out my strands, I placed my order:
15 feet of glass beads and 5 crystal pendants (and I found a Facebook code online) for under $40 shipped, not too shabby.

Before I could think about hanging them, I decided to spray paint the metal in a satin black. Just wasn’t feeling the hammered silver.

I hung it from the garage door for easy paint application…

After painting & letting it dry for a day, I disassembled it and removed the chain and rod so we could mount it directly to the beam.
Now, how to attach these crystals to it? With these little clasps called jewelry bails:
I can’t find a closeup of the ones I used but they were the only ones Joann’s carried. And they were kind of a pain.
At first I tried attaching them with hot glue, which was a total joke. It didn’t bond at all. Then I used Epoxy and it worked.
Each bulb housing had to have two (one on the inside and one on the bottom).
I also added five on the top plate.
The key is to use a big ‘ol blob of glue to cover it completely so it stays secure.
After letting it cure for a few hours (just to be safe) I added some weight and they stayed on!
To make them blend in, I sprayed a couple more coats of paint so there was no visible silver.
Because we had removed the chain and modified the top, there had to be a way to secure the chandelier to the wood beam, so we drilled some holes into the top plate and drove long screws into the beam.
Then came the fun part… dressing it up! I started by adding the hanging crystals.
Then I split my 15 feet of chain into one foot sections to connect between each post (luckily the wire loops connecting the beads bend pretty easily to take them apart.

< div>I draped five sections up to the top piece (ignore the bulbs, they were temps.)

Then five sections from the bottom of each post to the bottom center.
Then I used the last five sections to go between each post.
I grabbed up another small hanging crystal at Joann’s for the bottom center (I just thought it needed one more there).
Lastly, I picked up some Candelabra bulbs from Lowe’s (around $1/ea):
And boom, instant romance.
It emits such a gorgeous glow.
Especially at night.
Just what this room needed.
Sorry, I couldn’t stop taking pictures (ignore the unfinished parts, please!)
One more…
The room is starting to feel less like a construction zone and more like a Master Bedroom. Except there’s still dust and screws and nails everywhere, and it will be like that until we’re done (next month!)
Just for fun, can we look back to what this room looked like not too long ago?
So glad we’re over that phase! But there’s still a long way to go, and I’m happy to report that I scored my greatest find ever this week… my vintage dream dresser. It’s currently in the garage getting a makeover so it should be ready to show off on Monday. Check back then for the results, or if you can’t wait, follow my instagram for real-time updates 🙂