Loft Project Planning

It was still too cold to work outside this weekend so BJ and I took some time to plan projects inside. Last fall, we started decorating our loft. To continue the transformation, we’ve added a few items to our to do list.

The loft/upstairs to do list:
1. Paint the half wall
2. Add an entertainment center/storage area
3. Make a new coffee table (I saw a cool idea on Pinterest for a coffee table made of crates.)
4. Add two ottomans for the chairs
5. Add some more decorative accents to the room

Here is our current “entertainment center.”
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It looks a bit like a college apartment mash-up of electronics. Not really the vibe we are going for.
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This is the Ikea entertainment center that we would like to add to the loft. It’s a little more dressed up than our current set up and will add a significant amount of storage for games, puzzles and movies.
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Along with the addition of storage, we would like to add some color to the half wall behind the chairs.
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We haven’t decided on a color yet, but once we narrow down the options, we will pick out a few paint chips and hang them on the wall for a at least a few weeks to determine which one we like the best.
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We would also like to carry the color around to the catwalk on the other side of the upstairs hallway. This will tie the two areas together nicely.
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Now that we have a game plan for finishing this room, we can narrow down our paint selections and start saving for our new entertainment center.

How do you plan for upcoming projects? Do you create a game plan or just decide as you go?

Chalkboard Fun

Pinterest boards seem to be covered with DIY chalkboard projects these days. While I have a plan for a DIY chalkboard, in the meantime, BJ and I found a wall mounted chalkboard photo frame on sale at Crate and Barrel.

The chalkboard came with four 4×4 photo frames. Because printed photos come in standard sizes like 4×6, this required photo cutting to achieve the 4×4 size. You could also use photo editing software to crop the photos on your computer and then print them to a desired size. I chose to cut a few 4×6 photos left over from another project.

To cut the 4×6 photos to 4×4, I removed the filler paper inside the frames. Then I placed the paper on the photo as a template. I used a piece of scotch tape to hold the paper in place while I cut the photo. Don’t worry about putting the tape on the photo because the part of the photo with the tape won’t be needed.

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After I finished cutting, I arranged the photos in the frames.

And, if you’re wondering, the third photo from the left is a squirrel hanging from a tree eating a nut. I snapped that photo a few years ago while visiting a park in Maryland. The squirrel was more interested in his or her lunch than me standing there taking pictures. The swans are in the same park but the photos were taken around six years apart. The heart is from our Christmas tree this year and the red flowers were taken at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

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I digress… back to the chalkboard. Next, BJ got out a few tools for hanging frames. We chose the open wall by our downstairs powder room to hang the chalkboard. It is easily visible from our kitchen and adds more character to our once boring back hallway.

The frame came with hardware for hanging, but we also added anchors to make sure the drywall could hold the weight of the frame. Our drywall is pretty soft, so adding anchors for extra support really helps.

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Now that our chalkboard is up, BJ and I can write fun messages to each other.

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We also use the chalkboard to write our dinner menu and wine pairing each evening.

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Do you have a chalkboard in your home? How do you use your chalkboard?

Christmastime is here

Christmas time is here, happiness and cheer. Fun for all, that children call their favorite time of year…

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I could listen to the Charlie Brown Christmas album on repeat for hours. There is something about that music that is calming. With all the hustle and bustle, it’s nice to take a moment to relax around Christmas and enjoy the season.

Speaking of enjoying the season, BJ and I always look forward to winter because we love snow. I love the way everything looks with a layer of snow. It’s like natural glitter coating everything in a sparkling white. This year, for our dining room Christmas tablescape, I wanted to capture our love for winter and snow.

Remember the Crate and Barrel vases I mentioned in our last post? I decorated the vases using faux snow and vase filler from Target.


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The Crate and Barrel clear glass vases joined our tablescape along with our reindeer placemats, a few pine cones I found in our bin-o-seasonal items, tea light candles, our reusable wedding centerpieces (aka Ikea lanterns) and a floral arrangement consisting of poinsettia, mistletoe and willows. The flowers are arranged in a tall ceramic vase I bought on clearance at Target for around $3.88.

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I’m really happy with the way the clear glass vases look on the table with the rest of our tablescape.
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Here is a closer shot of the tall ceramic vase I purchased for less than $4.

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And here are our Christmasy-pine cones and tea lights. The pinecones are snow-capped and the white snow has a little bit of glitter in it to make the pinecones sparkle.IMG_2640
Below is the full tablescape in all it’s glory. I think may leave it up past Christmas. Maybe I can find some neutral snowflake/winter placemats and some different flowers for January and February.


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Do you capture your favorite parts of the season in your home decor?

A lofty transformation

A few months ago, our loft looked like this: There was no furniture, just an end table, a few old video game systems, insulated purple curtains I found on sale at Target , and board games. This room needed serious help.

For two years I pondered all of the possibilities of our loft. After much discussion and various ideas of how to use this space, BJ and I settled on a movie/game room tastefully decorated in the colors, photographs and memorabilia of our alma mater.

This Fall, we started taking baby steps toward our functional movie/game room by adding two blue Poang chairs from Ikea.

Next, we added two maize yellow patterned toss pillow covers from Etsy. I found two 18 x 18 pillow inserts for our covers at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Two 18 x 18 Pillow Covers: Yellow and White Chevron Zig Zag & Gotcha Lattice

After the chairs and pillows, we added new curtains. I had my eye on a pair of curtains from West Elm but wanted to see them in person before purchasing.

After browsing the curtains options at West Elm, BJ and I agreed the curtains shown above were still our number one choice. We chose these curtains because we wanted something with a bold pattern and neutral color palette. These curtains also complement our chairs well.

It’s amazing how just a few small changes can make a big difference. By adding chairs, toss pillows and curtains, we’ve completely changed the look of this room. We also changed out the previous end table with two Ikea Lack tables we already owned. And lastly, my bike and bike trainer will spend the winter in the loft so I can work out.

Here’s another look at the before and after.

Before:


After:

The next stage of our loft transformation is to add a storage/entertainment center. We’re thinking it might look something like this one below that we found at Ikea:

Once it’s all done, the loft will be a place that we can hang out in the evenings and when our families come to visit, they can relax in this room as well. It’s turning out to be a nice little retreat at the top of the stairs where you can ride a bike, watch a movie, play video games or curl up with a good book.

Playing Hallway Dress-Up

Before the appraisal last weekend, we decided to dress up our downstairs hallway. It was looking a little lackluster and needed some love.
Last year, we hung the coat rack/shelf on the left side of the hallway, but the right side remained plain, bare walls.

During a recent trip to Target to peruse the clearance racks for great deals on home decor, I came across a few shelving sets that were on sale. From the selection, I found a set of two white Threshold shelves that I decided would be perfect for this hallway.

I also picked up a mail organizer to store coupons and mailers.

Have you seen Target’s new Threshold brand? I love it! Their stuff is sophisticated looking, yet inexpensive.

Here is the after of the hallway with the shelves and mail bin installed. It gives this space a little more character and allows us to decorate for the seasons, if we like.

On each shelf, I placed a frame with a photo taken near our home.

On the shelf pictured below, the framed photo includes a backyard sunset I captured while we were painting our big blue wall. I also added a votive to the shelf that I saved from our Thanksgiving table display last year.

On the shelf at the end of the hall, the photo is of our petunias this year. Despite the drought, we had really great luck with our petunias. They are still hanging on too. They don’t give up easily. It may be December before we see them turn brown and fade away.

I really liked our new mail bin. I didn’t buy it with the intention of using it as a drop off location for mail as it comes in the door. Instead, it is a place to store coupons and mini catalogs that we can easily retrieve before shopping trips.

And instead of using the hooks for keys, I hung two heart ornaments that we found at Ikea as well as a door hanger for our favorite team!

We still have more updates to come on some of the smaller projects we accomplished over the past few weeks, so stay tuned!

Feeling the Love, Home Style

Our house is certainly feeling the love and so are we. It’s been a busy few weeks getting our home ready for a reappraisal and even though we are far from finished with our home improvement, DIY and decorating projects, we are proud of how far we’ve come since we moved in. It takes time to make a house a home and I’m enjoying every minute of our journey.

The appraisal is now officially over and as promised, here is an official wrap-up on our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

We did it! We finished all of the items on our list before the reappraisal.

Number 3 on our list was to organize and clean the spare room and BJ’s office. Just a few weeks ago, these room were stuffed full of boxes, papers and Goodwill donations. After spending a day hauling stuff out and reorganizing, these rooms are once again usable.

With the addition of the his and hers bookshelves in our bedroom, we moved the white shelving cubes to the spare bedroom to be used as storage. Our very first dining room table also found new life as a craft/project table.

In addition, the old coffee table from the living room is now a game and puzzle table.

BJ’s office was daunting when we first started reorganizing the chaos. There were still unpacked boxes in there!
Now all of the boxes are unpacked and we can see the floor again. Our next project with this room is to add bookshelves to give BJ more space to further organize his stuff.

The last, and the biggest project on our reappraisal to do list, was to finish the crown molding and baseboard projects. If you remember, we started working on the crown molding in the living room and kitchen around the same time that we tiled the floor in the dining room.

And drumroll please… Here are the before and after shots.

Here is the kitchen before the crown molding was finished:

And after:

Here is crown molding cap that BJ install in the living room to finish off the molding.

We also finished the baseboard in the dining room.

Here is the before, looking into the dining room. Notice the visible white drywall line in the paint on the far wall.

And here is the after. We decided to go with a taller more dramatic trim. This is just the baseboard before the quarter round was installed:

Now for the finished product with quarter round:




Since the rest of the house has a smaller baseboard installed, we bridged the gap between the taller baseboard in the dining room and the shorter baseboard in the foyer and kitchen with a thicker trim cap. We also added the quarter round to the baseboard to give the trim a finished look against the tile.


Since the tall white baseboard looks so nice against the slate tile floor, here are a few close ups for your viewing pleasure.


With the reappraisal over, we’ve decided to shift our focus to smaller projects for awhile. We are going to work on dressing up the loft, hanging some photos and I also have a fun Pinterest-inspired project planned for the coming weeks.

Did you wrap up any big projects this weekend?

Chrysanthemums: Take Two

In just under a month, our potted mums went from this:

To brown and dead looking. I’m not really sure what happened, but I’ll spare you a picture of the dead mums. I was so bummed that they turned brown so quickly.

I knew I couldn’t leave the brown mums on the porch if someone was going to look at our house for an appraisal. I went back to the Home Depot for new, blooming mums. I bought some of the last mums they put out for the season and this time I only bought one mum for each of the pots. The mums were on sale and I only spent around $15 dollars for three large mums, and two small mums.

It was $15 well spent because our front porch now looks like this:

In the process of giving our front porch a face lift, I busted out the trimmers and got busy cutting back the overgrown cherry bushes.
After some weeding and TLC, our gardens look less like a jungle and more like they are ready for winter.

We are still crossing items off of our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

Two down and two to go. More updates on our progress on the trim and organizing to come!

Showing Our Home Some More Love

As promised, here are our fabulous Ikea finds from last weekend.

Along with the coffee table for the living room, we also brought home a pair of Poang chairs for the loft. The loft is a good example of the “design and use a room for how you live” lesson I learned during the YHL panel session. For months, BJ and I talked about all the possibilities for the loft. After many discussions about how we could use the room, we realized it would often be just the two of us (and Zoey, of course) spending time in the loft. Why worry about seating multiple people? We have plenty of entertaining space downstairs in the living room. Instead of an entertaining space, the loft will be a place for us to relax outside of our master bedroom. Even when family and friends come and stay with us, they can use this space to read or relax.

To kick off the loft transformation, we bought two Poang chairs with black brown frames and blue cushions.

Originally, my design plan for the loft was to hang yellow chevron curtains and make yellow chevron pillows for the chairs. After I searched the Internet for yellow chevron curtains, I couldn’t justify the price. Even to buy the fabric and make the panels and pillows myself seemed too pricey. I decided to reconsider my idea and instead I found some reasonably priced yellow chevron and gotcha lattice patterned pillows on Etsy and curtains from West Elm.

Two 18 x 18 Pillow Covers: Yellow and White Chevron Zig Zag & Gotcha Lattice

Okay, I digress…

Back to the Ikea finds. An exciting new addition to our bedroom are our his and hers cube bookshelves. Can you guess which one is which? 🙂

Those are our latest Ikea finds. As we continue showing our home some love for the upcoming reappraisal, we are slowly crossing items off our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

The Poang chairs were a huge upgrade to the loft, and as for the appraisal to do list, we can cross off number 2. We are still going to add some more touches to this room including the curtains, pillows and an entertainment center. But for now, we can call this one done.

We are diligently working on the rest of the list and are hoping to finish by Tuesday of next week. Fingers crossed that we get it all done in time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Showing Our Home Some Love, Part 2: The Coffee Table Conundrum Solved

After we met John and Sherry from Young House Love on Saturday, and got a copy of their awesome book, we headed to Ikea. I was feeling completely inspired and ready to tackle our challenging rooms. While we were at Ikea, we picked up some items we’ve been talking about for a long time and a few cool items we found while browsing the new displays.

One of our most exciting purchases is a new coffee table for the living room. Right after we bought our current couch, I experienced a coffee table conundrum. After scouring Pinterest and making a few trips to Ikea, we finally brought home this guy:

We decided to go with white coffee table to contrast the dark couch and dark furniture. I’m still working on some of the decorations on top, but you will see our copy of the new Young House Love book found itself a happy home.

Check back later this weekend to see more of our Ikea finds!