Now that baby Elsie has finally joined us, we’re back to picking up steam on the kitchen remodel. We’ve finalized the sink and light fixture so now we’re moving on to counters and tile!
For counters, I knew I wanted something that resembled marble, but wasn’t marble. Some people are cool with the maintenance and inevitable staining that comes with a true marble countertop, but I am not one of those people. This meant my options were a quartz composite or solid surface (ok, there are lots of marble-patterned laminates too, but we didn’t really want to do with a laminate).
Silestone’s Et Satuario is pretty close to the look I’m going for as is MSI’s Calacatta Bontanica. We wanted to make sure we considered Cambria as well since they’re a Minnesota company, but unfortunately I wasn’t really feeling any of their options.
The way our remodeling company works if that they estimated a certain amount for the countertops in our initial quote. Countertop prices depend on the fabricators so these were the options I sent to them for quotes and hopefully at least one of them falls within our budget!
Today we also got ourselves out of the house to make a final decision on tile. The mudroom tile was an easy choice–I knew I wanted a white, penny hex tile because it’s pretty traditional for houses of this era. Added bonus: it’s also really cheap!
Backsplash was a bit of a dilemma. I had originally found an amazing starburst pattern at Lowes. Buuuut when we actually got to a point where I would consider ordering it it was listed as “no longer available.” I even chatted with a sales associate to see if there was any chance of it coming back in stock before January, but they didn’t have any information on it. Googling the brand and pattern didn’t get me anywhere either. SO BUMMED! It was such a nice combination of visually interesting without being over-powering.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything with a similar feel so I had to re-think my plan. I knew I wanted a ceramic or porcelain for the same reason I don’t want a natural marble counter. Glass tiles are cool too, but just not the look I’m going for. I also wanted a solid white so it won’t compete with the counter pattern. After thinking about it for a while, I decided that an arabesque or subway tile would probably be the best fit for the house and we ended up going with a handmade-looking subway tile. It’s a classic shape with a little bit of texture and organic-ness so I think it will work out very nicely.
Who’s excited? I’m excited! I feel like I’ve been agonizing over the living room design forever!
One of my big struggles with this room was the chairs. I scored some pretty comfy (and dirt cheap) slipper chairs off of Craigslist a while back and had planned to reupholster them. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a fabric that was really speaking to me. I did, however, find some really awesome looking chairs at World Market!
Chairs that were no longer actually available anywhere. Whomp whomp.
After a bunch of searching I was able to find very similar in black leather (instead of the white I had originally found). Whoohoo! I set up an email alert in case the World Market chairs ever come back in stock, but the black is starting to grow on me.
I’m hoping to find a properly vintage cabinet for storage since we have a great store down the street. If not, I have plenty of other options that would work.
The bookcases were another sticking point. We have several IKEA BILLY bookcases right now, but they’re not super attractive and not holding up to my book collection. I’d also like to make use of our tall ceilings in this room. Turns out it’s hard to find affordable bookcases over 6′ tall… In the end I decided to cobble together a ladder bookcase with an IKEA cabinet base. Wish me luck? This should end up going almost to the ceiling, while still being visually light. I’ll still probably be forced to pare down my book collection a little bit..but I’m a book hoarder so it should be good for me.
The living room opens directly into our TV room, so I had to tweak my plan for that room a bit.
The chevron rug I initially picked out was a little overly casual against the living room design. The pin-stripes seem like a nice combo of classic but not overly prissy, but I’m still working on final decision. I’d like to keep the leaf rug to designate the play area since it’s fun without being overly childish (and it’s a practically perfect size for that space). A predominately blue rug will also balance the blue sofa in the living.
I’m also considering switching out our current TV stand. I really like it, but IF we end up painting the paneling the white stand will probably get lost against the white paint. We’re still on the fence about painting the trim/paneling in this room, but leaning towards doing it since the room is very dark. It doesn’t help that our house is only about 5′ from our neighbor’s house so the windows in the room aren’t terribly helpful.
We met with a kitchen remodeling company last week! I think we could have managed a decent kitchen remodel on our own, but the presence of a toddler and the fact that I’m steadily growing in size and decreasing in mobility make it much harder. Plus, pulling in professionals will allow us to fix some more technical issues like the window and effed up electrical.
My big goals for the space are:
Replace all the cabinets
Replace the sink
Replace the overhead lighting
Shorten the window and fit cabinets under it
Redo all the cabinetry in the butler pantry
Add recessed lighting in the butler pantry (space permitting)
Replace the tile in the mudroom
As far as design is concerned, here are my thoughts:
I’d love for the new cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling, with glass doors on the uppermost cabinets. To add a little bit of interest, I’m thinking of backing the top cabinets with wallpaper (which will also get used in the mudroom). I’m a little concerned that two-toned cabinetry may be trendy and go out of style…but I LOVE the current color of our cabinets, but want to brighten them a little bit. My dream sink is a simple, apron-front sink. As must as I like the functionality of double-bowl sinks, we have so little counter space on that side of the kitchen that I think it makes more sense to shrink the sink a bit (plus, double-bowl apron front sinks are pricey AF, especially since I do NOT want an acrylic sink).
My plan for the counters to get a marble-look quartz composite. Real marble stains very easily and while I love the look of marble, I don’t want to deal with the upkeep. I’m having some fun with texture for the backsplash–visual texture that is, since a textured backsplash in a kitchen would be a beast to clean. Since there’s not much area to cover, I think it will be a fun accent and not overwhelming. In the butler pantry I plan on using a simple white subway tile since that space is more of a hallway.
For the awkward space above the radiator, I’m think of adding some floating shelves and coffee cup storage. I like the faux roman shades I have right now, but I’m thinking of replacing them with a navy linen for a little more texture. The wood shelves and jute rug will also add some natural elements which I think help warm up any space.
It’s funny… the overall look of the mood board is much more farmhouse than I usually go. I do think it will look really nice in our house in the end though. Plus I purposely chose permanent fixtures that are a little more vintage/neutral so they’ll look good with the bones of the house vs our specific decorating style.
Moving to the mudroom…
The only thing we’re planning on having the contractors do is replace the existing pinky-beige floor tile with (my favorite!) white hex tile. After that’s in place, I want to build some custom storage for shoes/jackets/etc and paint the door. The same wallpaper accent from the kitchen will get used here on a larger scale to tie the rooms together.
As I mentioned in my last post, I don’t have a nursery to work out my nesting energy on. I’m hoping to make some progress on the living room, but Matt is more focused on trying to get someone in for our kitchen remodel and is trying to reel me in. He may not succeed…
Lucky for me, my good friend E is in the process of buying house! I happen to LOVE putting together mood boards, and it’s even better when I have a target. So, like it or not, I’ve taken our furniture discussions and mocked up some spaces for her. And E, don’t worry, there is zero pressure to follow any of my ideas.
E’s already selected a number of furniture pieces and some of the walls they’re not planning on re-painting. I still had a little bit of fun though.
I think the current plan for this room is to reuse some existing furniture… but I had neither pictures nor a clear memory so I took some creative liberties, knowing the goal wall color was a bold teal. Plus, if they choose too, E & J can rework the space over the years. Nothing says your house needs to be picture perfect as soon as you move it (lord knows our house still isn’t even after 4 years…).
The room has a brick fireplace that I think would look awesome against the teal if it were white-washed. E and I have been discussing bookcase options, but for this layout I went with a fairly basic style raised on a base. Not only does the base add a bit of visual interest, it also raises the shelf off the floor to work around floor vents. This bookcase was pretty cool looking, but my only concern would be that the design of the shelf would get lost if you filled it up with a lot of books.The cute little cabinet gives a surface to add in some extra lighting and could be used to store games or booze.
It’s nearly impossible to choose paint colors based on online images (monitor differences, lighting, etc), so ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS look at swatches in the space you’ll be painting. I also suggest picking up some sample pots once you’ve narrowed down your selection since the scale can drastically change the look of the color. Here are some other possible teal wall colors (ranging from a little brighter to a little moodier):
Most of the furniture here was already picked out (which goes to show you that E doesn’t actually need my help 🙂 ) and the wall color is what’s currently existing so I just threw in a couple finishing touches for visualization. While I’m personally a fan of airy white curtains, these panel curtains from IKEA seemed like just the thing for this space. They’ll provide privacy while still letting in light and the geometric pattern pairs beautifully with the MCM style.
Dining Room / Kitchen
So… there’s probably no plan to re-do the kitchen since the existing one is perfectly nice…but how cute is that backsplash tile??? The cabinet/countertop approximate what’s already there (at least what I could tell from the realtor photos), but the house currently has a much more contemporary tile as the backsplash. The clean, white tile would both brighten the kitchen and help it blend more with the MCM furnishing dominating the space. I’m also all for replacing light fixtures, even though I realize a lot of people don’t want to bother with electrical (it’s pretty easy to do yourself though, and requires minimal tools).
I’m probably a glutton for punishment by liking area rugs under dining tables, but they can add a lot of softness is a room typically filled with hard furnishing. They can also add a nice pop of color. I recommend a busier pattern since it will hide a variety a sins. I have had very bad luck getting stains out of flat-woven rugs so I’d recommend scotch-guarding the shit out of them in any setting.
My only starting point for this room was rough idea for a paint color. Sure, I could have asked if E had any bedding/furniture plans, but where’s the fun in that? This room had another ceiling that would be fun to replace (seriously, the right light fixtures can add soooo much). This bedframe is something else I’m kind of in love with (ok, and the floor mirror… I may be starting to project a bit). There are tons of great wood MCM options too, but because MCM is so dominated by wood finishes I thought it was nice to bring in a little softness, especially in a bedroom. Plus, upholstered headboards are great for anyone who likes reading (or just dinking around on their phone/tablet) in bed.
While I’m working out the final details for the living room and TV room, it seems like a good time to knock out the downstairs micro-bath.
I don’t think I’ve ever posted a good picture of the micro-bath…possibly because it’s nearly impossible to photograph…so apologies for crappy angles and awful lighting. The truly depressing shade of brown on the walls does not help matters.
When I say “micro-bath” I’m not really exaggerating–this is the smallest bathroom I’ve seen outside of Europe. You can wash your hands while still sitting on the toilet. This was actually immensely helpful while I was pregnant because I could use the sink to hoist my ginormous self off of the toilet.
I’ve actually had a plan for our minuscule bathroom for years, I’ve just never gotten around to it. The other week Spoonflower was having a free-shipping event so I decided it was finally time to buy the wallpaper I’ve been eyeing for practically forever…but when I went to the site I immediately saw a different wallpaper that really jumped out at me. What to do?
I asked, you answered, and the overwhelming response was that the new print I found caught your eye too!
I have a sample of the wallpaper on the way, because it’s always a good idea to get a sample of things like this, especially when they’re on the spendier side.
The wallpaper will just be on the wall behind the toilet. I actually think that a crazy wallpaper could look cool on every wall in a small space…but I think that might frighten Matt a little bit, so accent wall it is. The paint color will probably change once I get the actual wallpaper sample, but I’m currently thinking a light, blushy, pink.
One of the best tips for a space is to always make sure you bring a but of warmth into a room. An easy way to do this is use some natural elements, like wood, plants, or even woven baskets. Here I’m planning a wood shelf behind the toilet and a wood-framed mirror. Since this room gets zero natural light it will need a fake plant for any greenery.. I’m hoping to find a good-looking, fake string-of-pearls succulent, but any dangley plant would work here.
Now that we’ve wrapped up the master bedroom, it’s time to move onto the living room/TV room. This is more-or-less how I approach a room design, but remember that there are no set rules when it comes to your own space. The ultimate goal is that YOU are happy (your home = your rules).
Fix on a Focal Point
This could be a piece of artwork, a rug, a piece of furniture, an architecture detail….pretty much anything. Hell, it could be your TV, I won’t judge. What’s going to be the “star” of the room? Where do you want the eye to be drawn?
You may also have an inspiration piece for you room that’s not going to be your focal point. Heck, it could be a magazine clipping that’s not exactly about to framed and hung in the room at all. Some sort of inspirational image is incredibly useful at this point.
Technically this print is planned for the living room and I’m going to be only focusing on the TV room here. Because my 2 rooms flow into each other, they really need to relate to each other so this piece serves as a great inspiration for both spaces.
Pick Your Palette
Using your focal point or inspiration piece, determine your color scheme. If you’re feeling minimal, you could opt for a monochromatic (different values of the same color) color scheme. This can end up a little flat so I’m always a fan a making sure there’s some good contrast going on. You can always use the internet for inspiration and search for “blue rooms” and see how other people have handled it.
Personally, I like a variety of color. The absolute easiest way to accomplish this is to start with a focal piece that already has multiple colors in it. Not to worry if the star of your room is your solid pink chair though! Internet to the rescue again! If you search google or Pinterest for “pink color schemes” you’ll get a ton of results and you can pick one that resonates with you.
See what I mean by finding something with multiple colors? This print provides a variety of options! Navy and blush make for a more formal base (along with some gray and creamy neutrals) and accents of aqua, bright coral-pink, and bright green funk it up a bit.
Now, don’t go buying your wall paint just yet. This is just a rough color idea at these point. The exact shades may change, plus, you’ll want to have your main pieces already in your home so you can match paint swatches in the most accurate lighting. Pro Tip: never bank on accurate color representation from an online image–monitors and color settings are way too varied.
Bring in the Big Stuff
So you have a focal point, you have a rough idea of a color scheme, now you want to look for the main items that will fill in the room. This is going to be pretty much furniture, rugs, and dominant light fixtures. They may not all be physically large items either, but they’ll probably be your spendier items. They may also be pieces you already have an definitely want to keep in the room.
Why the two rugs you may be asking? A corner of the TV is going to be a play space for Wesley and the rug helps define the space.
Add in Accessories
To really make a space feel like you, and not a staged show-house, shop your house for accessories. Things you’ve naturally acquired overtime will have more personality than something you’ve bought just because it looked good in the room. This isn’t to say you can’t by new things, just see what you already have first and pick items that truly resonate with you even if they’re not “magazine perfect.” You’ll be happier and that’s the most important thing for you to feel about your home.
Accessories don’t necessarily mean knickknacks. Plants, accent lighting, throw pillows, wall art…all of these are options for accessories. I don’t bother adding every little thing in when I’m creating a mood board either–I usually stick to pillows and wall art.
Wake up your Walls
You may already have an idea of what color you want your walls to be. Now’s the time to pick your exact paint color. Why wait until the very end of the design process? There are practically unlimited paint color choices so it’s much easier to find a paint that will complement your rug/upholstery/throw pillows/art than vice versa.
Now, for the record, it’s not as easy as pick this, pick that, bam you’re done. There will be changes and frustrations, and maybe your entire plan will morph into something completely unexpected. Just go with your gut and don’t try and force things. Maybe the rug you picked as your focal point isn’t meshing with the other items that caught your eye. It’s ok to completely rethink your rug choice. That’s why it’s a good idea put together a mood board before you start shopping.
Don’t feel like you have to make decisions on every single thing in the room either. Your mood board isn’t set in stone, but it’s a good idea to get the overall feel for your room before you start spending money.
Ooof, it’s been a while! The master bedroom is finally done though!
Let’s take a look back at what we started with:
One of the major pros of this house was the room sizes; you rarely find 100+ year old homes with generous room sizes and the master bedroom was especially generous.
It was also very generous with the outlets–12 pairs (and all of them about 3′ off the ground)!
After moving in, it pretty much morphed into this:
And then stayed that way for a while as we focused on other projects. Whomp whomp
A little paint, some new furniture, and let’s see where we’re at today.
SO much better. It looks like adults actually live here now!
The headboard, nightstands, sconces, and rug are all at a much better scale. The proper bed frame and drawers on the bedside tables add some much needed polish (it’s really nice to be able to stash things like deodorant, hairbrush, chapstick, etc out of view but still easily accessible). We also upgraded the outlets next to the bed to the fancy ones with the USB ports because we’re always charging phones and tablets on our nightstands.
I love the drama of the accent wall and it really helps highlight the bed (which is the pretty standard focal point in a bedroom). The pale green-blue-gray walls are wonderfully soothing.
I found the candle holder at World Market and had a beast of time getting it into my tiny little car, but here it is! The circle pattern compliments the sconces and the round mirror on the opposite side the room, and the bronze really pops against the teal wall.
Especially when working with cool colors (blues, greens, purples) adding a touch of warmth really helps balance out the space. I scored an amazing vintage dresser and then found some side tables in a similar tone at Target. The pops of natural wood add so much more than sticking with all white furniture like we had previously.
Added bonus: the mid-century dresser paired beautifully with my Cherner chair. I literally pulled it out of a dumpster years ago! It works well in the bedroom because it gives me a place to stash a robe or PJs, but it’s not big enough to let a giant pile of laundry accumulate.
The rug seems a bit crazy, right? I absolutely love it though! A different color and pattern would have completely changed the entire feel of the room. This one just seems to add a bit of playfulness and quirkiness that appeals to me. Matt may try and argue that we’re fairly formal people, but I will always enjoy of pop of the unexpected.*
There are still some tweaks needed–the solid green pillows are a bit too intense and the print needs a new frame. I’m eyeing this print from Spoonflower for the pillows since the citron color pulls from the duvet and breaks up the mostly blue color scheme. My closet is also in need of a complete overhaul, but that will be a project for another time.
I am so glad we finally have a respectable bedroom! Especially since now that we’re done I can go back to working on the downstairs. Next up are going to be the living room and TV room. I’m looking forward to getting those done. I always have a little self-guilt whenever we have people over because half of our main entertaining space is decidedly meh which makes me look like a shitty designer…but you can’t do everything at once.
*I still can’t convince him to buy one of the reindeer heads from the vintage store down the street. The fossilized rhino skull was also shot down, despite the fact that it could never be broken by cats or kids…some complaint about not paying $7k for a rock or something…
My original plan was to take the two IKEA dressers we currently had on each side of the bed and move them between the wardrobe and the door. Unfortunately, the dressers were a few inches too big to fit there.
Whomp whomp. Time for plan B and it ended up being gorgeous.
I originally though plan B was going to involve more IKEA. Not fancy, but affordable. I wasn’t ready to give in to more flat-pack just yet,* so I would periodically browse Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. One day I stumbled across this beauty. It had been up for over a week so I figured it was long gone, but I messaged the seller anyway and it was still available. The seller was even willing to hold it for me until the weekend so I could recruit a friend with an SUV. I have never felt so damn lucky.
We used to have a full-length mirror on this wall which obviously wasn’t going to work with the dresser. No biggie, I could turn the mirror and hang in horizontally above the dresser. Or at least I thought I could…only I failed to actually measure the mirror ahead of time. It was longer than the dresser so it would have stuck out past the end and that would have just looked awkward.
So now the mirror’s scrapped and I need something to fill the space above the dresser and I’m thinking….another mirror. Matt thinks I’m nuts, but bows to my superior design skills.**
Here’s where you guys come in. I’ve got a handful of mirror options, but I think I’m too close to the project at the moment so I need to get some outside opinions.
Watcha think? I’m sticking with brass accents in this room because there is so much blue/teal/cool gray happening that it really needs a pop of warmth. I’m also trying to find a mirror that’s roughly 24″x30″ because then I can mount it to a stud*** and it will still look well positioned. Next to the mirror I have plans for some jewelry storage so whichever mirror I choose won’t be lonely for long.
Now that we have a new dresser (and some new nightstands!) we just have to bring in artwork and accessories and we’ll be ready for the full room reveal in no time! Woot woot!
Hey hey hey! We have a new headboard! Did you think you had lost me to baby posts? Yeah… hopefully those will be slowing down and I’ll be focusing more on the house again. If you are interested in some down-to-earth baby talk, I finally did something with my Twitter account. Yup, I’m officially a Twit.
And our new sconces? How cute are they???
We seriously haven’t had a headboard since we moved into this house, so it’s been really nice to finally get this project out of the way. And yes, this was all custom-made and not terribly difficult. If you can use a miter saw and staple gun without losing a hand, this is for you!
Staple gun (+ 1/4″ staples)–an electric staple gun is totally worth it!
Because we didn’t take our headboard all the way to the floor, we measured from the top of our bed frame (without the mattress) to our desired height. We cut 8 1x6s to this measurement.
I used spray adhesive to adhere 2 layers of batting to each board. The adhesive will help prevent your base layers from shifting, but isn’t necessary. I rough-cut the batting first, then trimmed it to size after gluing it down.
Cut your third layer of batting a few inches longer on each side–you’ll need enough to wrap around the board and staple down. Cut your fabric about the same size.
Lay your fabric on the ground right-side down. Layer your batting, and then your board (fabric side down).
Oh hey, look! I finally remembered to take some pictures! I blame mom-brain (it’s a convenient excuse for everything).
I also cut out the corners of the batting to de-bulk when I got to wrapping the ends.
Starting from the center, staple the batting and fabric to the back of the board. You’ll want to pull the fabric snug, but not super-tight. Work your way around the board, alternating sides.
Once all your board are wrapped you’ll need to attach them all together. Cut a 1×2 a few inches shorter than the entire width of the boards. Use a convenient stretch of baseboard to keep the top of your boards lined up evenly (because of our shoe molding, I put an extra board in front of our baseboards). Recruit a helper to pull the boards tightly together as you screw the 1×2 into them. Depending on how you choose to mount the headboard, you may opt to do more rows of 1x2s, but we were attaching some additional boards.
After the panels were secured together, we measured, cut, and attached the frame. First I dry-fit everything to check that everything was cut right. Then I attached the corners together with L-shaped plates. The frame then slipped around the panels and got attached to each board with straight plates.
We added a 2×6 along the bottom to give us an area to screw our bed frame directly into the head board. Our bed was constantly inching forward on our hardwood floors so we wanted to put a stop to that. Only about half of the 2×6 overlaps the headboard, the remaining overhang fills the gap between our bed frame and the wall. If you have less-chunky baseboards, you may not not need a 2″ board here. Just measure the gap between your bed frame and the wall when your frame is pushed up as close as it will go.
At this point, some of you may be wondering why one of the boards of the frame appears to be painted on the back side. This is because my husband–the math major–forgot how angles work.
Matt: I probably shouldn’t have bothered getting the pre-primed boards. I still had to prime one of them again anyway.
Matt: Because after cutting the first the side piece you need to flip it over to cut the angle for the opposite side.
Me: Or you could just reverse the saw.
Matt: No no, because see, this side needs to be angled this way so to get the opposite angle on the other side you need to flip the board over and…. oh… well I feel stupid now.
The picture above also show the cleat on the back of the baseboard. Cleats are a great way to mount heavy objects on a wall–the length helps distribute weight while allowing you to hit multiple studs. If you have a table saw, they’re also super easy to make.
We chose to mount half of the cleat on the back of the headboard first and then measure for the correct height for the corresponding wall
I don’t have a lot of specific guidance for lining up each half of the cleat other than measure. Measure lots. And make chalk mark for guides. It probably easier if your headboard rests on the ground, but ours rests on the top of our bed frame (because we just like to be difficult here).
FYI: That’s not a phone resting on the cleat, it’s just one of the 50 million awkwardly placed outlets in the room. Matt removed the outlets, capped the wires, and put a solid plate over the electrical boxes.
So to recap: The headboard is attached to both the wall and the bed frame. It’s secured to the wall with a French Cleat, and bolted to the frame using a spacer.
Awesome diagram, no? One of these days I’d like to install Windows XP on my old (Windows 7) laptop so I can install my copy of AutoCAD again…but that’s a lot of work. #lazygirl
So yay! We have a headboard! And new sconces! Our bedroom is actually starting to come together! I have one wall left to paint (that I won’t be able to fully finish until we take out the window AC unit). I have an area rug ready to go (I just don’t want to put it down until I’m done painting). The biggest element I’m missing at the moment is a pair of nightstands. The dressers aren’t really working there, especially with a lower bed frame…but hey, we’re getting close to done!