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…
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!
We’ve officially started work on our bedroom makeover!* It’s slow goings, because baby, but I got one whole wall painted the other weekend! Whoohoo! A wall!
The bedroom plan was to have a dramatic, dark accent wall behind the bed, so I decided to start there.
Gorgeous, no? The color is Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray… although don’t be fooled by the name because it is decidedly greenish-blue.
I painted the baseboard along that wall at the same time (yup, white trim EVERYWHERE) so we could shove our bed back into place. I’ll probably be tackling one wall at a time so it will look pretty hodge-podgey for a while. I’m also going to wait until spring to paint the radiator because I really want to be able to open windows for that!
I had hoped to make some more progress by now, but cold and flu season took a pretty nasty toll on me, so it’s been sitting like this for a few weeks. We do have a headboard up now too, so those pictures (and tutorial) will be coming soon!
*Although, is it really a makeover if it wasn’t really “made” in the first place?
This is probably super optimistic since we now have a demanding baby in our household, but our next project room is going to be the master bedroom. This room is way overdue for some TLC since we’ve done nothing to it since we moved it. Heck, Matt just fixed the closet door so it actually stays closed!
There are a couple reasons I chose to tackle the bedroom next. Part if it is because we now have a kiddo (whose toys will gradually start taking over the house) it will be nice to have an adult retreat space. I’ve also been spending more time in this room lately and it’s really hit me just how blah the space is.
Yaaaaawn. Also, please pardon the mess. I didn’t even get a nap in today and had no motivation to style a Before shot.
So what’s the plan?
Thankfully this room only needs cosmetic work so the bulk of the work will be painting. We also need to replace our mattress so we’ll be upgrading to a queen sized bed (and actual bed frame). I also want the headboard to really be a focal point of the room and the entire wall behind it will be painted a bold accent color. After that it’s a matter of replacing pretty much all our existing furniture and getting a rug that’s the proper size for the space.
Not gonna lie, but this makeover will probably take a while. I’ll hoping we can at least make a start on the painting while Matt and I are still out on leave. We’ll see since we’ve got a couple other (smaller) projects we’re trying to finish up too.
I opted for a colorful ceiling and muted walls partly because of the ceiling fan, and partly because I figured there would be more busy-ness happening on the walls and floor and didn’t want too much color competition.
Oh, and if you’re wondering if that is a TARDIS blanket on the chair, yes, yes it is!
I also wanted something fun and whimsical, without being overly baby-ish. The animal portraits are by Yago Partel and actually from a calendar I picked up a few years ago. I fell in love with the mobile from Haba because it was bright and stimulating for baby, but still pretty artsy.
The chifferobe was apparently built by my great-grandfather and has actually managed to stay in use over the years. I re-painted it, but still feel like it’s missing a little something.
I didn’t want a specific changing table in the room, but I did want a changing station. We picked up the cubby organizer from Target and added a bit more structure by screwing on an MDF backing. I absolutely love the animal bins and they’re great for stashing towels, blankets, and small loose toys. All the diapering supplies are on a rolling cart, perfect when mom’s a righty and dad’s a lefty.
Things that still need doing:
Install a real closet door
Refinish the main bedroom door
Hem the curtains
I’d really like to move the alphabet wall down a smidge (it’s a little too high and driving me bonkers) but that would be a significant undertaking (and Matt will probably kill me for even thinking about it)
There’s actually not too much left given that we unexpectedly lost about 3 weeks of work time thanks to this kiddo arriving early. Now that we have a newborn around, it may be some time before the room is 100% done, but it’s mostly there and fully functional so it seemed like a good time to show it off!
A while back my sister if I asked me I wanted some furniture for the nursery. She had a changing table and chifferobe, both of which were ours when we were babies. The changing table was a little big for the room (and not really my style) but the chifferobe was really cute and I remembered growing up with it. I thought that was kind of cool too, to work in a piece of furniture that I had used as a baby/kid.
Later I was talking to my dad and he was mentioning how happy he was I was taking the chifferobe because his grandfather had made it for him. Whoa. I seriously never knew that and always just assumed it was something my parents picked up when they started having kids. I don’t know exactly why, but there is something kind of cool about being able to tell our son that he has furniture made by his great-great-grandfather.
The piece has obviously gone through several makeovers in its 60+ years. When I had it the frame was white with yellow drawers/door and white numbers painted on the drawers (maybe letters on the door? I don’t remember…). My sister re-painted when she took it for her kids’ nurseries and added vinyl numbers and letters.
Super cute, but the wrong colors for our space. And the A was totally there when I got it, I was just curious to see how easily the vinyl peeled off.
I decided to keep the frame white and did a quick touch up coat with (of course!) Benjamin Moore Advance (satin) in Simply White. Kids are tough on things and it just needed a little pick-me-up. I was really torn on what to do about the drawers and door, but eventually decided on green. I thought I had a good grasp on what shade I wanted, but, alas, it turned out a little too pastel-y
Guys, don’t do what I did. At $30 a quart, Advance is pretty pricey and I didn’t want to buy a new quart when I’m literally using about an 1/8th of it. I should have bought some cheap sample pots but was over-confident. I ended up going back to the store and asking them if they were able to re-tint it at all. If you ever need to do this, just be aware that there are limitations to how much they can do based on the pigments and the original base. I already knew that and just asked them to do what they could.
This was essentially the color progression as they experimented.
It’s better, but I have a feeling I may have some sort of color breakdown once the room is more put together and try yet another shade of green. I’m also debating if I want to add anything to the drawers or door.
We started with the baseboards. Once again I spent a while agonizing over trim pieces (since trying to duplicate 100 year old moulding with contemporary, mass-produced pieces is a bit of a pain). We had a little more leeway in this room since the upstairs was already a bit mis-matched so I decided to simplify things from when I did the dining room baseboards.
We really should have started with the plinths, but I was still painting them. You can buy fancier plinths at the hardware store, but the ones in the rest of our house are super-simple so I made them myself. I measured the width of the door casings, added about a 1/4″ (seriously, I just eyeballed it) and ripped some down. We had a scrap board of 10″ select pine so I used that since it would be plenty tall. Then I took my palm sander and rounded down all the edges and corners, primed and painted… and waited for them to dry.
While the plinths were being finished, we put up the 2 main parts of the base. We started with the bottom layer, went around the entire room, then added the top layer rather than fully finishing a wall at a time. My best advice for installing baseboards (or pretty much any trim) is to just tack it in place until you’re sure all the edges/corners line up well. If there’s an oopsie down the road it’s way easier to pull off and fix. Oh, and also start with your longest pieces first so if you cut them too short you can still re-use them elsewhere. We were able to leave the right amount of space for the plinths because I had extra one that was originally intended for backup but had a pretty nasty split in the wood.
Once the baseboards were up we were able to add in the plinths, followed by the vertical door casings. I was a little paranoid about installing them because my dad and I custom routed them and didn’t have any extra. Matt totally rocked it though! We went with a simple header cut from a 1×6 since that’s what’s in the 3rd bedroom.
SHAZAAM! We have door mouldings! (and a door that needs to be refinished, but that’s a project for another day)
After the doors, we moved onto the poor, naked windows.
Here we started with the sills, which sound intimidating, but they were really easy. First we figured out the depth of the other sills in our house and ripped a couple boards down to that measurement. Then we measured the depth of the window opening + the depth of the casing (A) and the width of the casing + 1/2″ (B). This gave up the dimensions of the cutouts we needed to make. The length of your board will be the window width + (B x 2).
I actually added a little more than a 1/2″ to the ends and cut it down after we dry-fit the sill. We used a jig saw to cut out the corners. It’s a pretty crappy jigsaw and we probably didn’t have the right blade for this this so my cuts were a little wonky. I also used my palm sander to slightly round off all the edges and corners.
All of this will get covered by the window trim pieces though so we’re ok!
After the sills were nailed down, we added the inside trim. We found a 3 1/4″ baseboard which was shockingly perfect. Yes, ok, there’s a bit of a gap in the middle, but our house isn’t square/level/standard in anyway so we’re used to these things.
I think it’s easiest to start from the top when you’re dealing with mitered cuts like these. You’ll know the top piece fits snugly and then you only have 1 mitered edge on the side pieces and shave off extra length with just a straight cut until those fit snugly too.
Next we added the vertical casings and the header. Thanks to our old house and wonky walls, there’s quite a bit of gap between the header. We’re going to add some wood filler and no one will ever be the wiser.
Finally we added sill base (there may be a technical term here, but I don’t know it….). Again, we just copied what was happening in the 3rd bedroom which was simpler than the trim in the rest of the house. Here we used a 1×4 cut to an 18 degree angle on the ends… I don’t know how they came up with 18 degrees, but it’s consistent with the other small bedroom.
And that’s the window! Lots of parts, but mostly easy cuts.
After all the trim was nailed up Matt went around and caulked everything.
I have to give a HUGE shout out to Matt for pretty much everything in this room. I may write the blog, but he’s been working so hard on and picking up my slack when I need a nap break. He’s really been the moulding (and painting, and ceiling fan) champ here and installed everything with pretty minimal help from me.
Not gonna lie, my first thought was holy shit Matt just threw away part of my fan. He had been cleaning up all the excess packaging that’s been taking over our living room between baby-related deliveries and home improvement crap and he already threw out the styrofoam packaging from the ceiling fan box. He insisted he checked everything he threw out for stray parts beforehand and I have no reason not to believe him. Buuuut I still may have went slightly catatonic and then decided I wanted ice cream (Izzy’s!) for dinner.
First I called Lowes, because that’s who we ordered it from. They then contacted Hunter (the company who made the fan) who gave them a reference number which they passed on to me so I could call Hunter back.
The first person I talked to didn’t care about my reference number and seemed very confused as to why I was even calling in the first place. She eventually said she was going to transfer me over to parts but instead I got trapped in the Automated Phone System From Hell. If you keep pressing zero enough times you can usually get to a real person and thankfully that worked this time. I may handle automated phone systems rather badly. The second live person I talked to was actually helpful but apparently shipping just the missing part was impossible and then had to send a whole new fan. Over-night shipping was also apparently impossible but she eventually caved and requested it be sent out as 2 day shipping (which translates to 2-5 days). We did end up getting the new fan on Saturday though–score!
Matt handled the installation by himself (I may have possibly been napping….). I went up to check on things as he was nearing the end and he had a laundry list of complaints.
Some of the screws provided did not actually fit, but he was able to scrounge spare screws from fan #1.
One of the screw holes for attaching the fan blades was miss-threaded making it damn near impossible to get the screw through.
The biggest issue though was installing the plate with the socket. It attached with 3 small screws that were practically impossible to line up correctly. It seriously took him a solid 1/2 hour to get that one piece in, it was also accompanied by a level of swearing straight out of the beginning of Four Weddings and a Funeral.
The lesson learned from this is pretty much whoever designed this fan only designed it to be pretty. They also possibly designed it to give electricians more business because it is a giant PITA to install on your own.
But daaamn is it gorgeous!
It came with an LED Edison bulb that’s pretty wussy so I’m going to try and swap it out for one of these pretty LED globe bulbs from IKEA.