I decided to consolidate this all into one post so I could have a dedicated living room source list next week and you won’t have to scroll through a bunch of chatter to find what you’re looking for. Keeping things simple and easy for ya!
First up, one of my favorite pieces in the entire living room…
Originally I wasn’t going to have anything on this wall at all. Brad ended up running some wires from the cable jack behind it to our outdoor TV (right on the other side of the wall) and they needed to be hidden, so I had to come up with something.
I loved the simple styling and the fact that it was narrow, and the perfect size! The plans seemed easy enough too (I followed the instructions from Ana White as well as referenced the photos from Shanty 2 Chic).
The stained wood she used turned out gorgeous but I realized that all of the furniture I had in the room was wood/brown so I decided to switch it up and go with a warm gray. I’ve had trouble in the past choosing grays—they always turn out bluer than expected, so this time I went with a much warmer shade—Valspar’s Mountain Smoke:
It actually looks pretty cool in this photo but next to all of the other gray swatches, it was a very muddy shade with brown/green undertones. It really is the perfect gray, I think.
Whitney had ripped down a sheet of 3/4″ Purebond plywood for the main frame, which isn’t available at Lowe’s, but since I wasn’t staining mine I used a sheet of 3/4 MDF instead. Best choice EVER. MDF is so easy to work with—doesn’t splinter or crack and it’s super smooth which makes it perfect for painting.
I had Lowe’s rip it down into strips to make it easier to transport, but their measurements weren’t perfect (as usual) so I ended up having to rip it down on our table saw (I don’t know what I’d do without that thing!)
I won’t get into the step by step details since you can find those in the links I posted above, but here’s some photos during the process. This project calls for a Kreg Jig which I’ve had some trouble with in the past (mostly with the wood splintering and the screws poking all the way through) but it worked like a charm this time—great for MDF:
The plans aren’t super detailed—like it doesn’t say what order to assemble the main cabinet pieces in, so Brad and I just assumed it didn’t matter.
First pieces up!
This is where more detailed instructions would have come in handy (or perhaps common sense on our part) because after adding the shelves in we realized we couldn’t fit our drill in there to secure the top. Oops.
We had to improvise with hand held screwdrivers. It’s solid.
There were also a couple conflicting measurements on the cut list which set us back but luckily I had leftover scraps of wood I was able to make work.
The doors were the easiest part:
I decided to add a bit of cottage flair by swapping out the plain plywood sheets with beadboard:
Once the frame was assembled we attached the back. I still had some particleboard leftover from our bedroom wall panel project so I was able to save some cash by using that up:
Then it was time to add the trim!
I lied about the doors being the easiest part, this step actually was. No mitering involved!
After patching all of the holes and a good sanding, it was ready for paint:
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again—Valspar Signature is where it’s at. Best paint I’ve ever used.
And it’s a match made in heaven with MDF… one thick coat is all this baby needed (the pine trim and beadboard needed another coat).
After the paint dried, I applied a coat of Minwax finishing paste for protection (it’s a wax that I think is meant for stained/bare wood but it was perfect for this project—easier than brushing on poly).
I loved the hardware Whitney used in the original build and I was able to find the hinges at Lowe’s (in gold, I spray painted them black) and I grabbed some rustic looking black handles from there as well.
I found the perfect sized baskets at the Container Store, which arrived just in time for the photo shoot.
Love, love, love this cabinet. Favorite build ever. Huge thanks to Whitney and Ana for the plans!
Next up… the tree stump table.
This project caused a bit of headaches.
I’ve wanted to make one forever and I knew it would be perfect in the living room. Fortunately we have tons of chopped trees leftover from their removal earlier this year:
I picked out my favorite log and had my dad come over with his chainsaw to help cut it.
The cut didn’t end up being exactly straight, and his chainsaw broke mid-way through so I was left with a crooked log that was borderline too short and very uneven.
Fortunately I just happened to buy a planer a couple months ago at our local flea market so I could finish the job with that. Oh, and this was less than two days before the photo shoot. My dad just got his chainsaw back from the repair shop that day—Brad had broken it trying to cut down the first tree stump table last month. Apparently this chainsaw was determined to not let me have my table.
I spent a solid hour in the garage that night trying to plane it down and get everything level, which ended up mostly just taking another 1-2″ off the height.
Then it was time for the bark removal. These logs had been sitting outside for months with no rain so I figured it would peel right off. Well, maybe 6 inches peeled off without a problem and the rest was completely stuck on. I guess if there are other logs on top of it, it won’t dry out.
There was no way I’d be able to remove it all before the shoot so I had the stylist hide the removed bark side and shoot it as is…
A few days later I returned with a chisel and hammer and slowly started chipping away…
It was definitely a pain. If you plan on making one in the future, put your stump somewhere dry and let it sit for a few months before even attempting to remove the bark.
Finally I managed to get every last piece off. It wasn’t perfect, but I gave it a quick sanding and called it a day.
To address the height issue, and also make it mobile and allow for air circulation at the bottom (which I read was recommended) I added some small casters purchased from Lowe’s:
I skipped the poly and am leaving it natural for now.
I love it, so it was definitely worth it in the end.
And if you’re curious about this white sofa slipcovers above… here’s what happened. Remember my post back in July asking for your thoughts what to do with the living room arrangement?
And then I decided on this layout, but wasn’t sure what to do with the couch fabric…
We still had the kivik slipcovers from our last house—which I loved at the time, but this home is definitely not the same beachy style. I loved the quality and fitment though, so it was an easy decision to go with Comfort Works again.
I tossed around the idea of white and gray, but figured I’d wait until the actual fabric swatches came in the mail to make a final decision.
White has always been my favorite color for sofas, but I’ve been too scared to take the plunge (hello, stains) so I just wrote it off completely. But then I discovered Comfort Works recently came out with a new “stain resistant” fabric called Liege, so I ordered a sample in “Eggshell” which reads as white but it’s really an off-white oatmeal linen blend up close.
I absolutely loved it. I was still skeptical about it’s stain-repelling effectiveness so I put it to the test with some red wine…
Yes, I wasted good red wine for this test.
Literally… the wine just fell off of it like it was never even there. It was like Scotch Guard on crack. I have no idea how it was possible but I immediately showed Brad (th
e OCD clean freak) and convinced him to let me buy my white slipcovers. Forget the gray, I want all white.
They even make custom sofa covers so I was able to get one for my armchair. I just had to send them photos and fill out a measurement form and their team did the rest.
Fun fact… Brad and I bought this chair on Craigslist for $35 back when we lived in LA (almost 8 years ago, where does the time go?!) Here it is way back when…
It’s super comfy so I couldn’t bear to part with it (and I didn’t have to spend hundreds on a new armchair!)
I could choose whatever style I wanted so I sent them some of my favorites I’d been collecting on Pinterest…
Relaxed/loose fit with piping and pleated corners… perfect.
The covers arrived over a month ago but I waited until just before the shoot to swap them out so they were nice and fresh.
I think they nailed it and I really couldn’t be happier.
Now I’m just crossing my fingers the stain resistance will last forever! The good news is, the cushions are reversible so if there is a catastrophe, I can simply flip it over to the other side. The other good news is because I opted for the loose fit, the covers are easily removable to throw in the wash so it shouldn’t be a huge pain when they need a cleaning.
Whew, alright, that’s enough information crammed into one post! Mark your calendars for Monday where I’ll be sharing all of the sources for this living room (and if you don’t want to miss anything in the meantime, feel free to follow along on instagram!)
Ok, everyone. The day has finally arrived. I’m especially excited for this reveal because it happens to be October, and it’s finally cooled off here in Northern California enough to actually feel like fall… which means I got to have some fun with cozy decor (seasonal decorating is my absolute favorite… just wait until December!)
Let’s remind ourselves of how this place looked when we first stepped foot inside it one year ago…
Welcome to the 70’s…
Okay, that’s enough of that. Here it is now:
Let’s back up to where you first enter at the top of the staircase (just in front of the foyer, for reference):
This is what you see straight ahead (I relocated the ficus tree downstairs and brought my DIY ladder back in):
This antique cabinet greets you at the bottom of the landing…
I’ve rearranged this decor on this cabinet yet again (I think this is the third time this month…)
It’s just too much fun, I can’t help myself. All of the greenery in this room was freshly cut from our property Sunday. There’s plenty of variety to go around here in the mountains.
Moving along… you’ll find the entrance to downstairs on your left. So glad I painted this door black.
Next to that is the awesome vintage trunk I scored at our flea market.
I just love the character it adds to the space.
And this lamp… <3
And then we have our new couch covers!
Couldn’t be happier with the white linen. I’ll talk more about these next week.
There’s the kitchen, if you were wondering how this all flowed together. It’s a two story home but t
he living room is on it’s own “half story” in between.
What a weekend—it went by so fast and I can’t believe it’s over already! (If you missed the news, you can find it in my last post, and if you missed all the instagram action, make sure to start following!)
A 3-day shoot was scheduled but everything went so smoothly and the team were such pros that we were able to knock it out in just two days. (Not that I would have minded them sticking around a while longer… I loved the entire experience!)
In the days before the shoot, the stylist (Jessica) began shipping props/decorations to our house…
I had to reassure Brad and let him know that it would all be gone the day the shoot ended, ha. Jess also packed her SUV with more goodies on the way to our home from the airport the day before the shoot (Saturday).
And the flowers… swoon…
They came all the way from LA and unfortunately, some were wilted so we had to improvise. Fortunately there’s lots of natural green foliage on our property and I was able to clip some branches (which I preferred the look of anyway!)
The photographers arrived first thing Sunday morning and began to set up. I tried to hold back from drooling all over their fancy equipment.
There was as specific shot list to follow and I assumed it would be done by room, but the photographer (Paul) ended up walking around the house see which shots had the best light at the time and captured those spaces before the good lighting shifted. Makes perfect sense!
The first capture of the day—our foyer. They left it pretty much the same, but since this will be for spring/summer they wanted more pops of color, so some chartreuse green boots and a matching wreath were brought in:
It was super interesting to see what went on behind the scenes. Like in the shot above, the kitchen window was making a glare on the ceiling so the photog assistant (Isabelle) ran outside to hold up a scrim to filter the light:
Those scrims were used in most of the shots, along with strobe lights to fill in the shadows:
But the actual photography went by really fast. I was impressed at how quickly they were able to get everything set up for each shot—they knew exactly what they were doing (obviously!). Paul was so helpful with explaining the process to me too (although I tried not to bother him too much). He said our house had excellent light and it made his job very easy 😉
The bulk of our time was spent styling/setting everything up…
The objective was to use as much of my own decor and DIY projects as possible in every shot. Then Jess would grab a bunch of her props and start editing them down until she was satisfied. My goal was to let her be creative and assist as much as possible—fetching props, cutting branches, moving cars, grabbing food, etc.
It was so neat seeing a new perspective and a fresh set of eyes come in and do their thing. I found myself thinking “wow, I never would have even thought of that!” on many occasions. I’ve never been around any stylists/interior designers before so it was a great learning experience.
And I was surprised at how non-meticulous it was… there was a fair share of fixing minor details (like spending 20 minutes to get ice cubes and lemon slices just right) but I forgot to empty the trash in my studio, for example, and Jess just said “Nah, leave it, it looks more realistic that way!”
My perfectionism wanted to kick in and move/rotate/fix a lot of things but surprisingly, Jess ended up leaving a lot of what I had in place already untouched. So if nothing else, it should definitely look “lived in!”
Early preview of our living room… don’t look too hard! Full reveal to come next week.
Here’s a peek at our bedroom… love the pillows she added:
We waited until just the right time before sunset to shoot the deck.
I like how they pulled the bar cart up into the shot.
Notice anything new? We added string lights last week. Love them so
much. Not sure if they’ll make it into the final images though.
Day 2 was dedicated to the kitchen. They needed a lot of shots there since it will be in both magazines.
Here’s the bar area, mid styling:
I love that Jess wanted to use every opportunity to include my prints. They’ll be all over the house! Can’t wait to see them in action.
Here’s the crew (myself included) right after we finished Monday afternoon. They were such an amazing team to work with and I can’t thank them enough (and BHG) for choosing to work with us!
The whole experience was definitely more casual than I had expected. No stress at all… everyone was really laid back, worked well together and got along great. It was perfect. Even my cats were well behaved and wanted to hang out with them!
Huge thanks again to Maria, Jess, Paul and Isabelle from Jenna, Brad, Susie & Biscuit <3
Yes, that’s two different Better Homes & Garden’s special interest magazines! I was just as surprised as you are.
I’m actually no stranger to these particular mags—remember our Florida master bathroom makeover? It was featured in the Real Life Kitchens & Baths magazine (back when it was under that title, they’ve since changed the name to Kitchen + Bath Makeovers):
When the editor of DIY mag saw my kitchen, she pitched it to her team and they decided to shoot a full house tour! Only problem was… we hadn’t even touched any other rooms, aside from my studio. This explains (a little bit) why we’ve been so busy! Just in the past year we’ve been able to complete our kitchen…
And living room… which is actually only 95% done and the shoot starts the day after tomorrow, so uh… I better get on that…
Those are the rooms they are shooting for the spread in Do It Yourself Magazine. They’re shooting a third day just for Kitchen + Bath Makeovers, so it will be a very exciting few days!
Just to clarify, we didn’t remodel our house for the shoot. It would have been done regardless, exactly the way it is now—only maybe not quite as fast. So you can thank them for my more frequent than usual posting schedule 😉
As you can imagine, we’ve been scrambling to get everything done around here. We could barely walk through our mess of a living room 2 days ago…
I still have to un-decorate for fall and re-decorate for summer (since the issue will be released sometime in spring/summer 2015). But I have an amazing stylist who has been shipping Target packages to me all week (sadly, I can’t keep any of them!) and it’s so interesting to see their new ideas for our home.
It’s not all fun and games though… we’ve also been dealing with the maintenance side of things… like touching up all of our bleeding pine knots…
These things are pure EVIL, I tell you. It’s our third attempt to cover them and this time we used the PVA primer that the painters suggested and used on our living room ceiling. We spent all night Tuesday priming and by Weds some knots were already peeking through, so I am not optimistic. I’m currently covered in dried paint after repainting the entire kitchen ceiling & wall, living room wall, foyer, and window sills last night.
Today will be spent wiping every baseboard, removing every cobweb, dusting every crack and crevice, window cleaning, mopping, laundering… etc etc.
The stylist arrives tomorrow and photographer on Sunday, with shooting lasting Sunday through Tuesday. This might be the most exciting thing to happen to us all year.
I’ll be back Weds or Thursday with a recap of the shoot, but I fully expect to be over-gramming the entire experience, so make sure to stalk my Instagram for real time behind the scenes action! Oh, and I must wait until later to share my latest DIY furniture project… sorry for the suspense 😉
First thing’s first—the winner of the framed Roman Numerals print has been chosen! Check the Rafflecopter box to see if it was you!
Whew, I can’t even explain what a relief it is to finally have this fireplace finished! It was the most daunting task on our living room to-do list (after the ceiling was finished) and finding a tile installer ended up being a huge stressful ordeal. Between the lack of tile workers in this small town, the first guy backing out at the last minute, several insanely high quotes, and another cancelled contract due to an incorrect estimate, we were facing the reality of having to do it ourselves.
But just in the knick of time, we found a replacement and let me tell you, hiring this job out was the best decision ever.
Let’s start back at where we left off a few weeks ago. Our handyman had installed 2×4’s for cement board support:
Living in the mountains now, I’ve embraced the cabin style (albeit in a subtle way) and at the heart of any good mountain retreat is a statement-making stone fireplace. We love the more modern look of stacked stone and were very pleased with how the bar wall in our kitchen turned out so we used the same quartz stone.
Since the materials were on the pricey side ($4/sq foot and it took over 300 sq feet) we decided to keep the hearth simple with some light gray porcelain tile, which ended up being around just $40 total.
After weeks of hunting down a tile guy, he came in last Tuesday and started the prep work. This was the end of Day 1:
Then the tiling began. End of Day 2:
More tiling and cement board—end of day 3:
By Friday evening (day 4) it was 95% done. Excuse the crappy cell phone pic…
The finishing touches were added Saturday morning (another bad pic, sorry!)
We do plan on keeping our TV there (Brad insisted, I can’t fight it) but I made sure it wasn’t a permanent installation. Just two plugs and it’s easily put away if needed. All of the other components are in the hall closet, fortunately, so I’ll just have to decorate around the TV.
But not before I took some proper “After” shots of it, all ready for fall. I had fun grabbing whatever seasonal-ish decor I could scrounge up around the house to dress it up a bit.
This is one of those things where you just have to be standing in front of it to really get a sense of scale and the way this changes the entire feel of the room. It truly is the heart of our home now.
I’m trying real hard to pretend like it’s fall here, even though it was 90° yesterday.
We have more firewood than we know what to do with, and I’m so looking forward to putting this new fireplace to good use.
Change is coming, soon… I can feel it…
We have this tree in our front yard that started producing these perfect orange and red bulbs (seeds?) the first week of autumn, right on cue. It makes for some great festive arrangements.
I scored this whole stack of vintage books at our local flea market the other day for just $10 (along with that chunky blanket for $1).
My Roman Numerals print decided to make another appearance… the classic black and white typography just goes with everything (and adds a touch of sophistication, don’t you think?). I layered it with
a black and white vacation photo (see more on that DIY project here).
You’ll have to ignore the weird lighting. The bottom of the fireplace had natural light from the windows shining on it, so the top looks a bit darker and warmer in color. It’s all uniform in real life, I promise.
The brass candlestick holders were also a flea market score, and I found the inexpensive black lanterns online here—they have so many to choose from!
The antler candle holder was a gift from my friend’s dad who makes them.
We have a fireplace screen that will be in place normally, but I left it off for this shoot.
Look who I caught up to no good…
Autumn needs to hurry up and get here so we can cuddle up with our furbabies by the fire. I know they’re anxious for it too.
And now the best part… where we can fully appreciate the makeover by traveling back in time to the “Before”…
And after we painted the walls…
Can’t wait to get the rest of the living room put back together! We’ll be working on that tomorrow. And then I have some exciting news later this week, along with perhaps my proudest DIY furniture build yet.
Today I’m sharing the easiest piece of furniture I’ve ever built. Seriously.
I’m pretty much the opposite of Ana White when it comes to carpentry—my dad was a wood worker and apparently his skills skipped a generation—but this project? I whipped it up in just a few hours (with Brad’s help) and it’s absolutely perfect.
First, let’s talk about the dilemma that started everything.
Brad decided that our living room needed to sound like a movie theater (apparently one home theater isn’t enough) which of course requires a big subwoofer. I have to compromise sometimes, so I let him win this battle.
But this monstrous black box just didn’t fly with my design plans for the space, so I decided to make it functional by hiding it underneath a table. I couldn’t find any store bought options that worked—the right size, look, and it had to be vented yet still hide this box at the same time—a pretty tall order. DIY was the only solution.
I took to Pinterest for inspiration and fell madly in love with this photo:
Yep, this is the one. There were no build plans or step by step instructions (I couldn’t even locate the original source) but it seemed easy enough to throw together by eye.
A old pallet would be perfect for this job, but we were fresh out of those so I headed to Lowe’s and found the most imperfect 1x3x8 and 1x4x8 boards I could find, along with a couple 2×2″ stair balusters to use as my inside supports:
Total cost was around $30, but any old boards would work for this so if you have scraps lying around, it can be done for much cheaper (or free). I liked the idea of having random board widths instead of keeping it uniform to add to the character.
The only other tools needed are a saw, wood glue and nails (we used our nail gun with 18 gauge finish nails).
After measuring the sub box and adding a couple inches on each side for breathing room, I trimmed all the pieces down and grouped them into three sections—front and two sides (we left the back open to the wall where the wires came out).
Then the fun part—distressing! We figured it was easier to do this before assembly.
After trimming my 2×2″s to the correct height, we arranged our group of front boards on top of them, lined everything up by eye (remember, imperfections are good), dabbed some wood glue and secured them with our nail gun. So easy.
Then we flipped it on its side and secured the corresponding boards at 90° to line up with the front pieces—we did this for each side.
Starting to look like a table already!
Then we simply attached the last two 2×2″s onto the back of the sides.
It was at this point I re-measured and realized the sub was a little too long to fit (oops… told you I’m no good at this stuff)
Fortunately, we were able to remove the rear 2×2″s and secure them to the very back of the sides instead of the inside edge, which gave us just enough room for the sub to slide in.
Finally, it was time to nail down our top pieces. We decided to not leave any gaps—just a personal preference.
For extra stability, we added a small piece of wood on the back side at the very bottom.
And our table was built. We were going to add foam underneath top to help with vibrations, but we did a test run with the bass cranked and there was zero rattling. I even put a bunch of metal stuff on the top, and nothing. The sound was nice and clear, no rattling, and it looked great—win-win! I love it when we can come up with creative solutions like this that make us both happy.
Finally, it was time for the finishing touches. I grabbed three different stains from the garage (dark walnut, provincial and driftwood) and went over each board with different mix to give the boards a more random look:
Then I let the stain soak in for a few days—I’ve found this drying time is crucial, especially if you plan to sand afterwards. Don’t rush it!
When I came back to sand it, the stain lifted so nicely and gave it that perfect bit of aged wood look (I used 80 grit paper and focused mostly on the edges).
And here it is with the sub hiding inside. You’d never even know.
I apologize for these lackluster “after” photos… our living room is a mess of construction right now so I can’t even move it into place, let alone style it.
SO MUCH BETTER.
It’ll be on the left side of our sofa, tucked in by the fireplace. Once I get the white slipcovers on and the rug in place, it will be a nice break from all of the clean & light shades of the sofa, curtains, rug, and wall color while bringing another natural element to the room. I can’t wait to see how it looks next to the stone fireplace…. speaking of…
It’s ALMOST DONE! I’m going to wait until it’s completely finished (next week) to share. My instagram friends got an early preview on Wednesday…
I’ll leave you with that for now. But it’s looking pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself.
Have a wonderful weekend… see you back here Tuesday!
The print is a sizable 20×28″ and it reads November 25, 2013 which is the date we closed on this house (almost a year ago, crazy!) I love the subtle representation of the date—and the fact that it’s a little cryptic. A fun conversation piece while adding a little drama to the space.
And that frame… I’ve never loved a frame so much. LZ was so great to work with when I told her my vision, she completely nailed it.
Bonus—it’s also super lightweight and can easily be moved around and re-styled (which will happen a lot, I’m sure!)
I knew one of you would fall in love with this just as much as I did, so we’ve teamed up to offer a lucky reader one of their own!
The print will be personally designed for you, customized to suit your needs… you choose your own date, colors, size, and optional text:
And the frame can be customized too! Choose from any color your heart desires…
I went with Natural, but the colored wood could be fun as well!
Here’s the giveaway details:
Prize: (1) Personalized Roman Numerals Print, in any custom size up to 20×28″, (1) Customized Reclaimed Wood Frame (to fit the print). The print will be framed, carefully packaged and shipped to your door, ready to display!
How to Enter:
Using the Rafflecopter widget below, 1) “Like” Jenna Sue Design Co. on Facebook 2) “Like” The Summery Umbrella on Facebook 3) Leave a comment on this post with a significant date you’d love to display in your home
The contest will end exactly one week from today—Tuesday October 14th, and the winner will be announced then.
Monday mornings are most people’s least favorite time of the week… but to me, they’re inspiring and full of potential. I’m usually still riding the high from finishing the past weekend’s project—in this case, a weathered wood coat rack:
This project stemmed from an “A-ha!” moment when contemplating what to do with this big empty wall…
It was simple, easy, inexpensive, and can be used for both function and seasonal decor. The perfect solution!
You’ve probably seen plenty of reclaimed boards with coat hooks on pinterest/blogland, so it’s nothing new here—the only problem is, I had no reclaimed board. I could have ran to the local lumber yard to find one, but I decided to skip the hassle and make it work with a 1×6 I had leftover from a bent beam in our master bedroom:
I wanted to go beyond my usual denting/scratching on the surface method, though, and make this thing more realistic. So I took a hack saw and started working at the edges…
It was getting there, but taking forever. Time to break out the power tools.
The jigsaw quickly sliced through the wood—just a minute on each side was all it took. After it was roughed up enough, I finished it off with a couple more sharp tools.
Once it was sufficiently weathered, I used my mouse sander to smooth out all of the rough edges.
Then I gave it a coat of stain (Minwax’s dark walnut) and let it soak in for a while (the longer the better!)
Finally, I hit it with the sander again, added coat hooks, and here it is:
I also made a few adjustments to the back wall, like the addition of a new customizable Roman Numerals print which will be available in the shop tomorrow:
The date I chose has a lot of significance… it’s the day we closed on our home (November 25, 2013). I love the meaning behind it and the fact that it’s subtle enough that you wouldn’t know at first glance 🙂
That awesome barn wood frame is from The Summery Umbrella (the same shop that made my giant kitchen chalkboard) and one of you will get a chance to win both the frame and personalized print tomorrow—so stay tuned!
I’m quite excited for the possibilities with this coat rack… seasonal decorating will be so much fun!
Although it’s still 90° here, I’ve been inspired lately to decorate for fall. It was on my mind at the flea market Saturday where I ended up with a nice collection of goodies for just $18…
My recent fall obsession started with a few updates outside…
Then migrated to the kitchen…
And now it’s spilled over to the living room. Complete with a full-time black cat.
Sadly, my autumn decor is only temporary—in the next week or two I’ll be making the house look like summer again. I won’t give any more details just yet… but feel free to make your guesses 🙂 You’ll find out in a couple weeks!
Next up is finishing this living room. We’re trying to schedule our fireplace tile installation for Wednesday and it’s expected to be finished by Saturday (everything crossed!).
I’m also in the middle of a couple DIY projects. Later this week I’ll reveal the rustic crate end table I made from this:
Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the giveaway!
If you follow along on instagram you may have seen the construction in progress:
There were a few hiccups, but thankfully my dad was there to come to my rescue, so it all worked out in the end.
My first thought was to stain it, but the deck has so much brown tones and it would’ve been too much. I had some black exterior paint leftover from our front & kitchen doors so I knew that would be really sharp looking.
I took my time with this one—patching every hole and sanding it all down…
Then gave it a few coats of paint and added hardware:
And I just love it.
My family was headed over for an evening BBQ shortly after these were taken, so I decided to have a little fun decorating (seasonally appropriate, of course—even though it was 85° yesterday)
I love that the tray is removable, and that the cart is on wheels so we can roll it right up next to the grill if needed.
Form & function at it’s best.
And while I was at it, I couldn’t help but have a little fun with the rest of the deck…
When the sun sets, temperatures cool down and we break out the blankets and lanterns.
Even little Biscuit wants in on the action.
I ordered the striped pillows from Target for a steal—$54 shipped for all four, and love the pop of color and pattern they bring to the space.
I still have a few more plants to add but it’s almost there.
We’ve only had our grill for a month or so but it has been put to good use already (another flea market score!)
To get a better sense of layout, here’s looking towards the deck entrance (from the living room and kitchen):
The TV is on a swing arm and can be adjusted for viewing (it was used on our patio in Florida and works great here, too). It’s connected to our main system inside so it can play any TV, music, etc on the same channel as the rest of the house.
Outdoor living is huge in California, especially in the transitional seasons when the temperatures consistently hover in the 70’s and 80’s.
The outdoor space is the reason we bought this house—thankfully we didn’t need to do any major renovations out here.
These mountains, cozy furniture and good company are all you need.
Cheers to fall…
Aside from a few more plants, I ordered some cafe lights to string above the deck so I can’t wait for those to arrive. Just those couple additions and we should be all set!
Meanwhile, the living room is a different story. Our tile guy bailed on us at the last minute so we had to scramble to find a replacement. Reliable and reasonable contractors around here are hard to find apparently, so we ended up going with Lowe’s for the installation. Hoping to get the ball rolling on that next week!
I’m still keeping busy with projects, though. Putting the finishing touches on one wall in our living room and building an end table this weekend. I’ll have more to share on Monday, so check back then! Enjoy your weekend…
Home sweet home… it feels good to be back! Thanks to everyone for sticking around while we took some time off to visit Florida.
Our tile guy was supposed to start on the fireplace last week but he’s been working on another job so it keeps getting pushed back (the frustration!). We’re hoping he’ll start this week (or we may just have to find someone else).
In the meantime, I’ve been tackling some smaller projects. I finished one yesterday that I am so excited about, it’s worthy of its own post (updated after new reader info!)
Vintage hardware lovers… today is your lucky day.
So, remember how the downstairs door looked like this a couple weeks ago?
A while back we upgraded all of the knobs in this oval oil rubbed bronze style, which was fine, but once I painted the door black I wanted something that popped a bit more.
Vintage hardware has always spoken to me, and I’d be in heaven if all of the doors in our house could look like these…
But seriously, have you looked at the prices of these things? Most will set you back $100 or more, and if you plan to do a whole house… well, forget it. Not an option for us. Not only that, but most don’t fit with the modern 2 1/8″ bore hole size and you’ll need to completely modify or replace the door to get all the parts to fit. So not worth it.
I’ve been determined to find another way. After much searching, I stumbled upon this glass knob set for the very reasonable price of just under $14.39 shipped:
The problem with the complete door knob kit that I purchased is that it doesn’t fit standard bore holes (despite what the Q&A says). The screw holes are placed 2″ apart but the bore hole is 2 1/8″ so there’s nothing for them to screw into.
The solution is to buy these wooden inserts which you attach to the inside of your bore so the screws have something to go into:
But even those are way more than I wanted to spend, and more hassle than it was worth.
I had to come up with a solution… so after some pondering and google searching, I came across these back plates (also called escutcheons):
They were $13.98 shipped which I thought was a great deal considering my alternatives. And I knew I could easily customize them to get rid of the brass.
Now that I had all my parts, it was time for a little DIY.
First, I had to remove the metal ring on the holes because my spindle wasn’t long enough to reach through to the other side:
I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with the brass finish, so I started by sanding it down a bit (with 220 grit paper). There was a silver metal underneath which I let peek through.
Then I sprayed a light coat of satin black. I didn’t like how it looked up against the black door (which is a cool/light black) so I sanded it down and decided I liked what was happening (you can see the sanded plate on the left and unsanded on the right).
Then I dug around in the garage and found some gold and brown spray paint, so I started experimenting.
I added some gold and sanded a bit, and once I added the brown it gave it a subtle rusty effect which looked very realistic. After a bit more sanding, they looked like this:
Love! The whole thing only took about 10 minutes (including waiting for the paint to dry in between sanding).
Installation was super easy. The latch and strike plate were staying so I simply removed the old knobs, slid the new ones through with my new back plates, screwed the plates directly onto the door, and tightened the handle. Easier and faster than replacing standard door handles (and about the same price!)
I love the way the rusty color coordinates with my fall wreath. Happy accident.
Because I didn’t shop around enough (oops) my price came to just under $25 for everything, but if you buy the back plates for $5.80 and the glass knobs for under $8 on Amazon or Home Depot (and use your existing latch and strike plate), you could get the same thing for under $14. That is seriously cheap for this setup.
UPDATE: A reader just informed me that they sell a kit like this at Home Depot for $19—it includes the mortise latch but you could just leave that out for modern style doors. Unfortunately I don’t live near one but that’s also a good option if you just want to buy everything together!
I would replace all of the knobs in my house in a heartbeat, except that I haven’t been able to find any vintage style privacy knobs that work with modern doors (and aren’t ridiculously expensive). Boo. If you know of one, let me know!
In other hardware news, I got my pendant pulls in for our sideboard—I found them on Ebay for only $3.50 shipped!
They came in brass, so a couple quick coats of black paint later and they’re perfect (and I was able to leave the key hole exposed!)
And that’s all for now. I have an almost finished project in the garage right now that needs my attention today… those of you who follow me on instagram got an early preview 🙂
In the meantime, we’re enjoying this beautiful fall weather that arrived right on schedule…
And after months of a dry spell, we even got some rain!
Unfortunately it was short lived, as it’s expected to climb back into the 90’s in a few days. But it did get me excited for fall.
I’ll be back at the end of this week to share, and *hopefully* will have an early fireplace update then as well. Fingers crossed!
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Since there is so much to do with this house, and so many new ideas that are constantly popping into my head, I thought it might be helpful to organize my thoughts by creating a checklist of sorts for all the upcoming projects. Now, this list isn't set in stone, and will be evolving as I go along, but it's a pretty good idea of what I want our home to get to eventuallRead More »
We finally did it. We made the 2.5 hour trek to Ikea to get all the crap we've been so desperately needing. I have been planning and scheming for months over this, as I know there probably won't be another trip in the near future. Luckily we had two friends who accompanied us and helped push our 6 overflowing carts through the checkout line. Four exhausting hours afteRead More »
I spent my weekends growing up in the garage with my dad while he was building furniture. Somehow, up until this weekend, I've managed to never use an electric saw or nail gun. But yesterday I decided to break them both out of their packages and complete not one, but two wood framing projects simultaneously, despite my lack of knowledge/experience. How hard could it bRead More »
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Happy New Year! I started mine off right with 48 hours of D&R madness. Saturday morning bright and early, we began replacing every single outlet receptacle and light switch in the house with the modern-style rectangle design. Long story short, something happened in the wiring along the way and it blew the breaker and we ended up staying up nearly all night trying Read More »
It's Christmas morning and I'm back in California, cuddled on a cozy couch overlooking pastel cloudy skies above miles of pine trees and blue mountains. Feeling happy and grateful to be home with family. The new year is only a few days away and I wanted to start it off right with a way to document and share everything going on in my world. Life has brought many changeRead More »