Freshening up our drabby old kitchen

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The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. We have had our spare time filled with football games and house projects galore. My parents’ are coming into town on Wednesday to meet this new baby of ours. With my c-section scheduled for Friday morning (yes, as in three days from now…gulp), we have been rushing to try and squeeze in a few last minute to-do’s. The kitchen finally got some much needed attention as we made a few simple(ish) updates and gave the cabinets a fresh coat of paint. Other than the addition of our new range, and the new floors, not much had changed in this space. Here are a few pics to jog your memory.

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The first thing that needed to be done in the kitchen was very obvious to us from the first time we saw the house. Notice in the second photo, the bank of cabinets above the sink that obstruct your view into the dining room? Yes, those had to go. And go they did, way back in August, in fact. While my parents were visiting, my mom and dad helped me tear these suckers out one morning while Nate was at work. It was fun to send him a picture surprising him with our little demolition session. After a lot of debate and going back and forth between leaving the soffit and taking it out all the way to the ceiling, we decided it would be easier to leave it. Taking it completely out felt a bit like opening a can of worms since the rest of the kitchen would be staying as-is. So, our solution was to texture it to match the new ceilings, paint it, and add two can lights.

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Our next big kitchen goal was to find a way to dress up the space around the lonely refrigerator. I always thought it looked unfinished and a bit out of place just sitting on this wall all by itself.

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I have seen quite a few tutorials online about building a simple surround for a refrigerator with a cabinet above, to give it a more permanent, built-in impression. And the best part was, we had a cabinet that we took down from above the sink that was the perfect size for the refrigerator space. So, I ran this idea by my dad (yes, this project was also done back in August during their visit) and Nate who immediately rejected it and told me I was nuts. But, after some online research and some serious convincing (picture me with a power point presentation, pie charts and a pointing stick) they reluctantly gave my idea a whirl. Here is what we came up with.

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After the addition of trim, caulking and paint, I’m very pleased that I pushed these guys to help make my built-in refrigerator dreams come true.

The last goal for the kitchen before baby was some paint for the cabinets and add some pretty hardware. I decided early on that white was the direction we were taking because if you follow along, you probably already know that I am on a quest to brighten up this place. So, white cabinets felt like a very natural way to go. We aren’t reinventing the wheel by painting our cabinets. Pretty much everyone who lives on the planet is well aware of the power of paint. Amen. Just look at the difference it has made for our little space.

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Painting the cabinets was a pretty straight forward process. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint and I loved using it. It was perfect for this pregnant lady with virtually no odor and low VOC’s. It’s environmentally friendly and my favorite part was that it’s water soluble. So, if I found myself running low on paint, I could mix it with some water to really make it stretch. Brilliant. With the painting process complete, I sealed the cabinets with the Annie Sloan wax which leaves you with a rich, almost velvet-y finish. I love the finished product.

 

P.s. Unless I go into labor before Friday, I should be back with a nursery tour! I am putting finishing touches on the sweetest little space for our new guy and I am so excited to share. Stay tuned…

P.s.s. Also, I am going to get our house tour page updated so you can see all the good progress we have made lately.

 

My 5 current crushes for the nursery

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Happy Monday! It is finally cooling off and raining here in Texas and I am thrilled. This has been a very hot, long summer and I am ready for Fall and the cooler temps that come with it. Bring on all the pumpkins! Over the weekend, my seven year old, Nolan, asked me why I haven’t been getting the baby room ready? She is right, it’s time to get busy. I have all things nursery on the brain. Isn’t the one above just dreamy? We have about seven weeks left until my c-section and this very slow moving lady needs to pick up the pace.

Here is the space. Yikes. Since we have moved into the new house, we have used this room as a dumping ground for extra art and frames.

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I want the nursery to be a simple space with just the necessities. The room is small (about 10×11) and I want it to feel modern, open, and without a lot of frills. This is our third baby and we have learned our lesson about buying all the things. We went crazy when Nolan was born and she had every baby item on the market. She had swings, bassinets, strollers (yes, we had more than one), toys, activity mats, and on and on and on. We scaled back when Grey came along and he had much less. This time, the plan is to start with just a few of the basics. If we find that we absolutely cannot survive without a particular item, we will add as needed. So, I started putting together a small list to accomplish this simple, open space. As always, I kept the price points at what I thought to be affordable. Big impact + small budget = my cup of tea.

  1. First, lets start from the floor and work our way up.

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This rug is fun and its low price tag makes it not too precious. I think this is perfect to inject some pattern and ground the space. I think a 5×7 would be just the right size and allow me to place the other pieces of furniture around it.

2. Obviously, I need a crib for our guy. Nolan and Grey used the same crib and it looked worn out by the time Grey grew out of it. Think teeth marks, dents and a squeaky mattress from jumping.

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This crib has clean lines and with its bright white color is perfect for our small room. My sister bought this very same crib for her daughter, Finley, and has loved it. Finley approved!

3. Crib bedding is hard. I looked and looked for something that was cute for a baby boy but not over the top with monster trucks or fire engines.

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 It might be hard to tell from the picture, but this pattern has a small feather pattern. Cute, huh? I thought so. I haven’t ordered from Land of Nod before, so I am excited to test them out in the nursery. I want some of these for my bed!

4. This changing pad and cover is another Land of Nod find. There were so many options that I may end up changing my mind again. But I was drawn to this one because of the fun pop of color it would bring to the space.

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It seems like the baby gear is so much cooler since I was last in the baby game. Like those yummy pouches that I see so many toddlers happily devouring. What?! I’m not even sure if those were around when Grey was transitioning to baby food. Maybe they were, but I wasn’t privy to them.

5. This mobile could be cute in a boy nursery, girl nursery or maybe I plan on stealing this from our baby when he’s done with it and hanging it in our living room.

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 Nate thinks this mobile is perfect as it pays homage to our time here in Texas. Nolan and Grey were both born in Portland so this is a cute reminder that our new baby is a Texan. I wonder if he’ll have an accent?

So that’s my list of baby finds for the nursery to come! Grey is donating his old dresser to his baby brother that will house his clothes (ahem…that we have yet to buy) and his new changing pad. It is an IKEA dresser we bought a couple years ago that we stained and painted the drawer fronts white.

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Don’t you love a good list? I sure do. Something about having things laid out in print helps to ease my type-A tendencies. During my whole pregnancy, I kept telling myself that I had plenty of time to get going on the baby’s room. But, as Nolan pointed out, my window is closing.

P.s. Our new floors have come in and are being installed on Saturday, this Saturday! I took lots of horrible before pictures of our current flooring situation so you’ll be able to appreciate my crazy enthusiasm. Take a deep breath….eeek!

 

 

Crushed Ice

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Oh my goodness. It’s been crazy at our house the last few weeks. We have been busy adjusting to our new school schedule. Hello 6:15am! This is not a natural time for anyone in our family to get up in the morning. We fall more into the night owl category, for sure. In addition to our new school schedule, Grey started fall football and Nolan is finishing up her swimming classes and gearing up for tryouts for swim team. Nate has also been recruited as head coach for Grey’s football team…gulp. Nate is competitive. He is so competitive that we have “no board-game” rule in our house for the general well being/happiness for everyone who lives here. But, I’m sure he will be able to keep his competitive nature in check for these cute little football players, right?

Things have been really busy at home as well. We have my C-section officially scheduled for November 11 so I have to get busy and get some projects done around the house before baby boy is here and the holidays soon thereafter. So, in an effort to keep this train moving, I finally chose a paint color for the interior of the house. I knew I wanted something in the greige family, i.e. a warm gray color. I also decided that this color is going to be pretty much everywhere. This means the living room, dining room, kitchen, entryway, hallway, etc. You get the idea. I’m thinking this will bring a nice flowing and cohesive look to the inside of the house.

A few weeks ago, I went and picked quite a few swatches of paint that I brought home to study. I quickly narrowed down my options as so many of these colors looked too dark in our house. The lighting is super tricky in here with the screened porch on the back of the house that blocks a lot of natural light. I quickly had three favorites for which I went and grabbed test pots at Lowe’s.

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All three colors are Sherwin Williams. The top was Nebulous White, the middle swatch was Crushed Ice and the bottom was On the Rocks. I painted these swatches in several different places around the house all in different lighting situations. Dark, darker, and barely visible to the human eye. In the end, I went with the middle swatch because I felt it brought the most warmth to the game. And that’s what this place needs. A warm and fresh pallet.

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This is a shot of the hallway with a fresh coat of Crushed Ice. I especially love the way it pops against the trim. I also just finished painting ALL the trim in the whole house. I was able to leave the baseboards because we will be replacing them when we have our new floors installed, but more on that in a minute. Remember what our hall used to look like on move in day? Wow. I feel bad for THAT Courtney. She had a lot of work ahead of her.

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The walls were super shiny and it drove me crazy. It made the texture on the wall stand out as well. This particular texture has so much texture with sharp-ish peaks that it looks like it might scratch you if you rubbed against it. So, while I know most people do not recommend painting their walls in a flat sheen, I went ahead and did it anyways. It seems to tone down our crazy texture and doesn’t draw your eye to the texture, the way it did when the walls were a satin sheen. I hear the warnings against flat paint as it isn’t as washable as some of the more shiny sheens and to this I say, if our walls are so dirty that I am constantly needing to wash them, I suppose I will be repainting anyways. Also, I think that the paint formulas have come a long ways. All of the sheens seem to be washable these days. Anyways, that wraps up my mini-rant and now, more pretty pictures!

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Did you spot our new light fixture in the dining room? I have been hunting for something for this space for a while now. We have had an IKEA one above our table for several years but I have been wanting something a little more special. The lightbulbs are dipped in silver which is really fun.

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Remember before how I mentioned floors? Well, we finally made a decision and ordered our wood floors! So, they will be coming in over the next few weeks and then demo and installation should be at the end of this month. They will go down everywhere except the bathrooms and bedrooms. I am so excited/nervous. Here is a little sneak peek of what will soon be our new floors.

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So that’s the dish in our house. I can’t believe we are going to have new floors soon! Picture me with a serious case of perma-grin.

 

 

I’m Baaack!

 

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It’s been a while! Last time I updated the blog, I was busy getting ready for my folks to arrive from Oregon for two weeks. In preparation, I painted and made some easy updates to the guest room. Well, I am happy to report that my parents loved the room and were very comfy in there for the duration of their visit. We had such a wonderful two weeks. The weather was terrible and it rained almost every day they were here. Everyone kept joking that they must have brought the rain with them from Oregon because rain in Texas during the month of August just isn’t a thing.

They have been here a handful of times for visits so we weren’t too worried about doing touristy type stuff around the area but instead focused on projects around the house that Nate needed help to complete. Also, my parents had only seen our new house in pictures so they were anxious to finally see it in person. Because of the bad weather, we mostly hung out together, cooked, (oh, how I miss EVERYTHING my mom makes) completed some projects around the house and watched some good TV (Game of Thrones and The Night Of on HBO) But, it was so nice to spend some time with my mom and dad and we actually got a lot accomplished too!

Also, the kids started school. Grey started kindergarten and Nolan started second grade. I was a little (ahem…a lot) sad to see them go because it feels so early this year. Before Labor Day? What? And don’t even get me started on Grey starting school…how did this happen so fast?? Here is the obligatory first day of school picture. Now let’s move on before I start to weep…again.

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But I mentioned projects! It was amazing to have the help of my dad! Nate and I found that it was easier to pull the trigger on some decisions with his help with some things that we previously had been talking to death. Talking with no action to follow. The first couple days they were here, we turned attention toward this eye sore in the middle of our living room.

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This beam goes across our entire living room and was covered in popcorn texture when we moved in. When we scraped the ceiling, we scraped the beam and never made a plan for what we would do next. My mom and dad loved our fireplace mantel that we made and thought that wrapping the beam in the same cedar planks we used for the mantel would be the easiest way to dress this baby up and would compliment the existing mantel. Here is a reminder of what the finished fireplace mantel looked like back before we had the ceilings done.

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After calling around to a couple lumber yards, we found our lumber in stock and had it delivered right to the house. We had to go though an actual lumber yard because the planks that we needed were over 18 feet long and we knew that we didn’t want any seams where we joined more than one piece together. After they were delivered, it was just a matter of CAREFULLY measuring and ripping the boards to size. After a few nails with the nail gun, we were in cedar love. Just call me Joanna Gaines.

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We had some exposed electrical in the middle of the beam that was used to wire a ceiling fan when we moved in but we had taken it down and decided that we didn’t need a ceiling fan in the middle of the room. We have been pretty comfortable in Texas with the A/C in the summer and heat in the winter, without the help of any ceiling fans. With all that being said, we turned the breaker off and capped the wiring with plastic connectors and used electrical tape to ensure that everybody stayed where they should be when it went back up in the ceiling.

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I love the way it breaks up all that white and gives the room some texture. Also, how cute does the mantel and the beam look together? MFEO. Totally.

While we were on a cedar kick, I have had this live edge chunk of cedar that has been sitting in our garage for two years. It’s twelve feet long that I bought from a guy in Oregon who had his own mill for cutting lumber. Why twelve feet? Well, our sectional is twelve feet long and I thought this live edge would be a perfect table top to live behind the sofa for lamps, remotes and books. But, our sectional floats in the middle in the room here at our new house and so there is no need for a table behind the sofa.

Well, my mom had the brilliant idea to make a floating shelf in our entryway. Previously, I had made a DIY tribal stamp for the walls in the entryway but hadn’t given much thought to what furniture should live in that space. I had a little bench in there but in person, it felt much too small for the space so we decided that a shelf with a mirror would be a much more practical use for the space. We used three brackets from IKEA and my dad secured it to the wall one afternoon while Nate was at work.

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I love that we finally got to use this piece after all this time. Now, I am thinking that I just need some cute baskets for underneath and a runner for the floor and I will call this space done…for now.

Also, remember how I said I wanted to change the glass out of our front door because the pattern was feeling a little too traditional for our house?

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We tracked down a clear window to replace it with and my dad installed it for me. It’s very simple but it has blinds on the inside so with the little flick of a switch, the blinds come down at night for privacy. To say that I love this upgrade would be an understatement.

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So, those are just some of the fun things that have been going on around here for the last two weeks. I am already missing my parents but they are coming back to Austin in November just in time for baby boy to arrive. Wait until you see what we did to the kitchen! It’s a good one.

 

Living room Updates

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I got lucky last weekend. Really lucky. I was perusing Craigslist on Friday (not unusual) and that’s when it happened. I found a mid-century dresser with beautiful lines for $200. I am always looking for mid-century furniture (especially credenzas and dressers) but usually can’t find them for under $1000 because they are wildly popular right now. They are beautiful and versatile and can be used just about anywhere in your home. I found a big modern dresser that lives in our bedroom a few years back that I have yet to fully strip so that I can restore the finish.

Usually, when I inquire about something on Craigslist, whether it is via text or email, I never hear anything back. I am pretty unlucky. So, when I saw this dresser, I thought I better have Nate try and reach them so we would have a better shot. He is the opposite of me, he can buy/sell just about anything on Craigslist. If I were a 93 year old man, I might say that Nate could sell a glass of water to a drowning man. Anyways, back to the dresser.

So he arranged for us to go and look at it the next morning and when we got there, we soon saw that it was in bad shape. Big chunks out of each side and the top had been torn off. Someone had attempted to fix these imperfections at some point by filling some of these holes with a material that I am thinking was wall patch and then covered that with a coat of light yellow paint. Yes, light yellow paint was their answer to matching the original finish of the dresser. Even with some major sanding and repairing the missing pieces with wood filler, this baby had lived a hard life. It was rough. So, I thought we would just pass and leave this poor beauty behind when Nate suggested that maybe we might paint it. YES! So we (ahem…Nate) negotiated the price down to $150 and we were on our way home with the new dresser.

I only took a few pictures of what the dresser looked like before because I was so excited about its impending paint job. Here, you can kind of see the finish. Although, this doesn’t really show how bad it was. Before anyone gets too mad at me for painting this beautiful dresser, please know that if I thought I could have saved the finish, I would have. I am a big fan of keeping furniture in its original state and love wood tones and use them often throughout our home.

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The only step I had to take to ready this dresser for paint was a good coating of liquid deglosser after I filled in all of the cracks, holes, and divots with wood filler. I chose Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore for the paint color, a moody, dark gray that doesn’t have purple or blue undertones, which can be tricky to find with charcoals. Also, I removed the hardware and covered up the chipped and worn finish with a fresh coat of oil rubbed bronze spray paint. It looked brand new when I was finished.

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We have been talking about finally getting our TV mounted on the wall and this seemed like a good time to make that happen. Nate tracked down mounting brackets and a kit that enables you to run the wires through the wall instead of allowing them to show/hang underneath the TV. Here is a shot of this process midway through.

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A few weeks ago, our living room looked like this. We had been sporting a flimsy IKEA shelf for the past five years that was AWFUL. This horrible shelf had been moved to too many houses, painted countless colors, and its legs were falling off. It was a mess.

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Now, this is how the living room looks today after we finished painting the new (new to us) dresser and mounted the TV on the wall.

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So, that is our story about how an old dresser came home with us to live happily ever after. Did I mention the storage we gained??? Just look at all those glorious drawers. Now, I can store movies, books and toys out of sight!

My parents are arriving on Tuesday for two weeks and we are beyond excited! I have been having a lot of fun working away on the guest room to get it ready for them. I will be back next week with the details on some much needed tweaks in that space!

DIY tribal stamp

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Last week I shared a photo of my newly stamped entryway because I was trying to decide how I felt about the finished product. This week, I am feeling exactly the same! I STILL can’t decide if I am loving it or hating it. The good news is that this project cost $0 in materials and used just a little bit of paint that we already had so we aren’t talking about life altering issues here.

It is so much more fun to complete some “fluff” projects around here since we have finished the ceilings and can finally move on with our lives. This is a really fun one and I think with just a few tools, anyone could do this.

We had some scrap wood laying around the garage and I asked Nate if he wouldn’t mind using some of those spare pieces to make an isosceles triangle for me (whoa…isosceles…haven’t used that term in a while). After a strange look, he agreed and it took him less than five minutes. I grabbed an old terry cloth dish towel, wrapped it around the edges of the triangle and secured it with hot glue. HOT GLUE, what?!!! I know, I couldn’t find my staple gun. Simply stapling the cloth to the wood would make way more sense. But, if you’re like me and your garage is a black hole where you can’t find anything, go ahead and use hot glue. It stayed in place throughout the whole process so it actually didn’t turn out to be a problem. Except, I still don’t have any idea where my staple gun might be…

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For the paint, I just used some of our flat, white ceiling paint for this job. I poured just a little bit onto a tray that was wide enough to press the stamp down into the paint. I found an old plastic charger from Christmas a few years back. Fancy shmancy, right?

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As for applying the pattern to the wall, it was pretty simple and I mostly just eyeballed where I wanted everything to fit. I didn’t want the pattern to look too perfect or planned out. I think that would take away from the “tribal” effect. I set up a laser level to help me keep my triangles in straight lines, vertically. However, I just used my fingers to measure how far apart each row went horizontally. Totally easy. Just make sure to not use too much paint so you start looking gloppy and runny.

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Notice the trim and closet doors?? They are white! Beautiful. Clean. White. I can’t get enough of it. Soon, I will have all the trim and doors painted white. I will post on that soon! Here is an after shot with the entry looking all pretty again.

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I will live with it for a while before I make up my mind. Originally, I was going to do all four walls with the stamp but after I finished the first wall, I thought maybe less was more. Well, we will see.

Fireplace facelift

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Whew! This weekend we celebrated the 4th of July and attended a parade, a fireworks show and two different BBQ’s. It was kind of a whirlwind but we all had fun. The parade was one of the best I have seen and shouldn’t have been surprised that Texans know how to do a parade right. The kiddos scored major in the candy department and we all nearly died in the almost 100 degree heat.

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In between all of the festivities over the weekend, we were able to get a project done at home. Yes! Am I talking about our ceilings that still need texture and paint? No! I swear though, it is happening this weekend. Seriously.

I think I mentioned previously that I was going to try my hand at white washing the brick fireplace. I have been looking at tons of inspo pics of white washed brick and I love the way it looks. My favorite thing about white washing is how it leaves the differences in the individual bricks behind and doesn’t completely cover them in an opaque finish the way a latex paint would. So the overall impression is a much less polished look which I think is appropriate for brick because it’s not meant to be perfect. Here is our fireplace.

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Usually, I love unpainted brick because I am always partial to rustic finishes, but this particular brick was related to the brick that was used on the outside of the house and most definitely had some pink undertones. Pink brick = not a good look. So, let the white washing begin already!

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In addition to white washing the brick, I knew the existing mantel needed to be altered. Some ideas included starting a fire in our fireplace, ripping it off with sledge hammers and throwing the mantel in the fire. But, instead of going down this road, I found some pictures online of some simple chunky mantels that people built themselves. I showed these pictures to Nate and asked him if he thought he could do the same. After quite the pep talk, he reluctantly agreed and was nice enough to give it a try to see what he could come up with.

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The white washing part of the project was FUN! I already had some white, flat paint and just mixed equal parts water and paint and painted it on with a brush. It went much faster than traditional painting and the bricks do all the work for you. After you apply the wash, the bricks soak up the water and paint that leaves the uneven, white washed effect.

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Please ignore my sun burnt arms, I went outside for three minutes and only used a sun block with spf 1000. Also, please ignore our ceilings. Seriously, we are going to get them done this weekend.

After Nate had taken down the old mantel, only the supports were left. Nolan and I decided that it would be fun to write a message in a bottle and hide in the frame before Nate attached the new mantel. We had so much fun dreaming up scenarios where/when someone would find our letter. Her ideas were too cute.

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After our letter was hidden away, there were a few, last minute jobs that needed to be done in order to check this project off our list. There were some very visible cracks that became even more visible once the bricks were white washed. It was a pretty simple task but I had to mix some mortar cement and patch all the gaps and cracks. We also used some black, high-heat spray paint and sprayed the inside of the fireplace so the brick inside looked new again with a fresh coat of black paint. And, finally, Nate finished the mantel and attached it to the existing frame. I am so proud of him. Not too shabby for his first try at building something, right?

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He made the mantel out of cedar planks and I haven’t decided if I should seal and/or stain it. This was a really fun project and being able to include Nate and Nolan made it even more fun. And because I already had the paint for the white washing, the grand total for lumber, mortar mix and a can of spray paint only made a $32 dent in our pockets. Big impact for a small amount of cash! Everybody wins.

Mellow Yellow

I painted the front door over the course of the weekend. What a difference such a small change can make! I’ve said this before, like when we painted our mailbox a few weeks ago. It’s fun to complete some smaller scale projects when there are such big ones looming…ahem…texturing the ceilings. I’m starting to think that we might be living with naked drywall above our heads forever! Nate and I were supposed to be working on said ceilings this weekend but instead, we found ourselves doing other things like playing Foot Golf (Nate, not me) and painting the front door yellow (Me, not Nate).

Back to the front door though. Here is what we were working with before paint.

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The door is actually new and looks as if it was installed in the last few years. Other than the fact it makes me want to take a nap every time I look at it, it’s a nice front door. Even the way I describe it is boring, “nice front door.” We have definitely decided that the window in the front door has to go. It’s not our style. I’m thinking about something a little less ornate and a little more modern. Or maybe even just a plain, glass window would do the trick. My parents are coming down for a visit in August and my dad is going to help us make this change. He is our resident window expert:-)

When I started looking for inspo pictures for ideas for this project, I immediately ruled out any colors on the darker side of the spectrum. Our house itself is very dark so the front door needed to serve as a pop of color. There are so many cute options though, I liked everything. And I was really drawn to the pinks and lavenders because it seemed like such an unusual option, I mean, who would be brave enough to paint their front door pink!? Well, not me because I ended up going with a cheery yellow. But, I am going to file this away for a possibility for the future. I do like to change things up. I kept going back to this one particular image.

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I loved the way the yellow looked against the navy exterior. Our house isn’t navy but it is dark and even has the white trim that this color pallet is paired with. Sold!

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It was a relatively easy process except this yellow paint surprised me with just how many coats the door took to get the proper coverage. 27 coats! I’m exaggerating but it did feel like that when I was painting. I suppose it was mostly because I was covering a dark door with such a light color. So now you are warned, if you want to paint something yellow, be prepared for multiple coats.

Ta da!

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I moved my lemon tree from our screened porch in the back of the house to the front entrance because I couldn’t resist putting our lemon tree next to our new yellow front door. I have also been worried he isn’t getting enough sunlight. So, I fertilized him and gave him a new spot. Maybe the yellow door and his new yellow pot will inspire him to produce lots of lemons?

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I am so happy with the color. It’s so happy and welcoming. If our door could talk, it might say, “come on in! Happy people are inside!”

Fjalkinge to the rescue!

When I decided that the kids would be sharing a room at this new house, I didn’t give much thought about the combining of the toys and books that each of them would be bringing from their respective bedrooms. Even though we have a “less is more” theory with toys, there still seem to be quite a lot of them floating around. If a kiddo hasn’t played with something in a while, out it goes. Nolan just started collecting Shopkins which I think is perfect because they are so small. Nate and I had to Google what Shopkins were…and we still have no idea. Grey likes cars, trucks, trains and just about anything with wheels. But I do try very hard to make sure that the toys don’t take over the whole house. Nate and I definitely don’t want to be living in a big play room.

I have been hunting for some toy storage solutions and found lots of ideas that I liked, but sadly, were not in the budget. I was especially in love with some open shelving from Serena and Lily. I am loving the wood+white look and always find myself attracted to the rustic/modern look in homes and furniture. The space in their room would have called for two of the taller shelves to take up the better portion of a wall. So this little purchase would have set me back $2,390 before taxes and shipping charges. Ummm…yikes.lark_white

Somehow, I ended up at Ikea…again. But found the perfect shelf! I could buy two of them and they would easily fit into the space I had in mind. A couple of ideas popped into my head to modify them to satisfy my wood+white obsession. Meet Ikea’s Fjalkinge shelving unit.

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Nate and I ran to Lowe’s and grabbed two pieces of plywood and some dark walnut stain. We had a friendly fellow cut our pieces down to the size of each individual shelf right in the store for us so we didn’t have to rip any of the boards ourselves, which Nate loved. So all that was left to do was stain the wood and let it dry outside for a couple days. As far as Ikea assembly goes, (and we have had a lot of practice) these shelves were super simple. Once the plywood pieces were all dry and no longer smelly, we just slid right into place on top of the white shelf insert. My dad always says, measure twice, cut once. Well, we might have measured seven times, but no mistakes were made and the boards were just the right size.

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 I also scored a little night stand and a rug too! Notice the wood and white theme? Points for consistency, no?

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The best part is the kids toys look so super cute out on display on their new shelves. I kind of did a Grey side and a Nolan side, although there was no way his cars and trucks weren’t going to spill over onto her side. I will probably tweak the arrangement of everything as I add some better looking baskets and move everything around. I can’t help myself. Nate always laughs at me because objects are always moved, furniture is rearranged and nothing really stays the same in our house for very long.

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The room is starting to really come together in such a fun way. I thought it was going to be really tough to decorate for a boy and a girl in the same space but as it turns out, I’m kind of a neutral kinda lady. Who knew?

It’s the small things

With all these big projects that need to happen around our house, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Big projects + Big money = Nervous Nate. Haha…just kidding. Well, sort of. Anyways, tackling these little projects feels really good too. Enter our mailbox.

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Nice, huh? I think at some point this little painting on the side of the mailbox was cute. But, after years of sitting outside in the elements, the paint had begun to chip and wear off. So, this baby either needed to be replaced or given a fresh coat of paint.

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Since the box seemed to be in fine shape without any dents or any other major probs, I decided I would just spray paint it. I went over a bunch of color options with my sister, Collin and she had some good suggestions. How about matching the mailbox to the color you are going to paint the front door? Or, what about a handsome navy blue? Both good ideas but we are getting ready to paint the exterior of the house and I am fairly sure we are going with a very bold color so in an effort not to scare the neighbors and send them running for the hills (and they would have to run quite a distance to reach any kind of hills here in Central Texas), I went with a safe option.

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Nate took the mailbox off the stand for me easy peasy besides the fight he started with a few stripped screws for a minute or two that were securely holding the box to its stand. We gave it a quick wipe down with a damp cloth and sanded down the painting on the sides to ensure a smooth finish.

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After a few coats of spray paint, the mailbox looks brand new! This is my first before and after…I love reading blogs and am a huge sucker for a good before and after.

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 The cool thing about oil rubbed bronze spray paint and probably why it’s used so much is from far away, it looks almost black, but upon closer inspection, its brown, gray and sparkly all over.

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This is a small feat but it feels good and is a good reminder that projects will get done, one by one.