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: NuLoom
Sheepskin rugs: Amazon
Wardrobes: Customized Ikea Pax 
Headboard: DIY
Navy quilt & pillows: Overstock
White comforter: Amazon
Sheets & throw: Target

Ruffle bedskirt: Similar here

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 + DIY refinish
Metal pitcher: Thrifted
Wire basket/books: Etsy
Floor mirror: Ikea/DIY
Bench seat: Overstock
Side table: Flea market
Floor lamp: Discontinued, similar here
Throw pillow covers: Ikea & Etsy
Woven blinds: (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’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!

Want this look? Here’s what I used:

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… 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, we 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!